What will happen at the clinic or hospital?
Depending on the circumstances and the time interval of the incident, the process may differ. If a survivor is seen at a designated healthcare facility, such as a rape forensic unit or a Thuthuzela centre, the below services are provided free of charge irrespective of whether a case is opened with the police or not.
Thuthuzela Centres are one-stop facilities that have been introduced by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development as a critical part of South Africa’s anti-rape strategy, aiming to reduce secondary victimisation, improve conviction rates and reduce the cycle time for finalisation of cases.
Thuthuzela Centres provide specialised victim-support services that are intended to reduce the secondary trauma of victims and currently operate in 4 public hospitals in the Western Cape close to communities where the incidence of rape is particularly high.
- Containment counselling by a trained Rape Crisis counsellor.
- Interview by the attending doctor or sexual assault nurse examiner (medical history, history about the circumstances surrounding the alleged incident).
- Medical tests: HIV, RPR (syphilis), pregnancy, tests for sexually transmitted diseases if indicated.
- Medical examination and evidence collection from the body (general – look for injuries, anogenital examination – injuries, collect evidence, including clothing in some instances).
- Provision of post-exposure prophylaxis (action taken to prevent disease), based on test results, against pregnancy, HIV, STDs.
- Treatment or referral for treatment of any other injuries.
- Offered a bath, comfort pack.
- Follow-up visits are arranged at 1 week, 6 weeks and 3 months (to repeat medical tests).