Victims of crime: Understanding the support you can expect
The recent release of the crime statistics contextualizes the overwhelmingly negative impact violence has on the lives of thousands of women, girls, men and boys as it continues to be a barrier to society's overall well-being and development. In many cases, crime and violence can have tremendous physical, financial, and emotional implications on victims who can be re-victimized, leading to them experiencing further trauma if not provided with the necessary support services.
With a total of 27 450 contact crimes reported in the Western Cape between October to December 2021,the Western Cape Department of Social Development (DSD) wishes to reiterate its commitment to providing a range of services to support victims, their families and survivors of crime and violence, including Gender Based Violence, to deal with the their trauma. A victim is a person who has suffered physical, mental or emotional harm, including economic loss or substantial impairment of their fundamental rights through crime or violence.
During the 2021/2022 financial year, with the support of its Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) partners, the department provided 17933 individuals and families with victim support services.
The DSDs Victim Empowerment Programme, supported by service providers in the Western Cape, offers a variety of services to support victims which include:
• ensuring that victims receive emotional and practical support,
• assisting victims with the management of trauma,
• ensuring that victims are educated to identify the symptoms of post-traumatic stress,
• referring victims to professional services where necessary,
• provision of court support services during the criminal justice process is dealt with efficiently,
• promoting the rights and responsibilities of victims through advocacy,
• ensuring that victims are aware of their rights,
• ensuring that ongoing victimisation is prevented and
• providing a shelter service.
A shelter is a place where victims of crime and violence are able to live for a period of one day up to approximately three months depending on the needs of the victims.
The shelter assists with meeting basic needs such as:
• providing a safe place to live,
• providing protection, food and clothing,
• providing emotional support services such as trauma debriefing and therapeutic counselling,
• providing information on developing skills, victim’s rights and capacity building,
• support in preparation for court procedures,
• programmes focused on alleged perpetrators and
• gender based violence prevention programmes.
A shelter for victims of crime and violence does not provide statutory services to children; therefore shelters cannot accommodate children without their parents/ legal guardians.
"We remain committed to facilitating healing and building social cohesion in our efforts to building a violent-free society. This will require the support and buy-in of each stakeholder to play their part in ending crime and violence and working towards forging a shared future.
I wish to express my gratitude and appreciation to our NPO partners, all civil society organisations, and individuals who help and support the province’s residents. The admirable work you perform each and every day in meeting the needs of our province’s citizens demonstrates what building cohesive communities is all about,” concluded Minister Fernandez.
For more information contact:
Any persons interested in finding out more information about the victim support services we offer, can contact our department by calling 0800 220 250, to be directed to your nearest local DSD office.
For more information about our other services, please refer to the Western Cape Department's Website below:
Joshua Covenant Chigome
Spokesperson for the Minister of Social Development, Minister Sharna Fernandez
Tel: 021 483 9217
Cell: 083 661 4949