Victim Empowerment Rooms established at SAP

THABAZIMBI – A drop-in facility to temporarily accommodate the victims of domestic violence and sexual assaults has been established at the Thabazimbi Police Station.

The opening of the Victim Empowerment Rooms has coincided with the second day of the national “16 Days of Activism Against Woman and Child Abuse” campaign, from 25 November until 10 December.

The official opening, which took place on Thursday 26 November, was attended by many role players, the most import of which is the main sponsor, Kumba. The rooms are inside the main police premises, and were previously used as store rooms and barracks.

The rooms have been transformed into colourful, user friendly sleeping (for men and women respectively), washing and interviewing facilities, with toys for children, and second hand clothes. Once again the people of Thabazimbi have opened their hearts and wallets for this important facility.

Supt LI Mantjane, Thabazimbi Station Commissioner, explained during the opening of the Victim Empowerment Rooms that each station is obliged to have such a facility and that it is part of the empowerment of women. If you have a trained woman, you also have a trained nation, he said.

He thanked Kumba, who sponsored the renovations, for their role in serving victims of crime. Emmy Leeka, General Manager of Kumba, in turn said Kumba’s contribution should not be seen as compliance to the compulsory Social Development Plan, but more as part of the company’s desire to make a difference as it has been doing for 78 years in Thabazimbi.

Supt Mantjane said crime has a devastating affect on the various aspects of the victim’s person, and that the new facility might be able to assist in enabling a victim to live a full, healthy life after incidents of abuse.

He also distinguished between a support centre and support rooms. A proper centre where all social problems are addressed should be established by the Dept of Social Development. The support rooms, such as opened at the police station, would be for victims of criminal offences.

Ten volunteers, who have completed the Victim Empowerment Programme, will be available on call to support victims. This service is offered by the Dept of Social Development. The facility will enable a victim of (e.g.) domestic violence to wash and sleep over if alternative accommodation cannot be found, as well as receive support from the volunteers.

Present at the opening were, amongst others, Marakele, NGO’s such as Youth Against Crime, Thabang and the SAVF, the Department of Social Development, the Community Police Forum and sponsors.

Hennie Pauw