Help for crime victims

2016-03-29 06:00

Sixteen counsellors have been trained to help victims of crime in the Ocean View police’s victim-friendly room.

The counsellors received the basic victim support training offered by the police and provincial Department of Community Safety, explains Angie Latchman, Wynberg policing cluster spokesperson. They are expected to begin active duty “shortly”.

“The roles and functions of a victim-friendly room and victim support counsellors at a police station are extremely important to victims of crime. Counsellors receive intensive training,” she says.

These counsellors will help victims and provide crisis intervention, explains Latchman.

“The victim supporter is trained to calm the victim and to help the victim decide between his options. More specifically, the victim supporter helps rape victims in the immediate aftermath of a rape, family members of murder victims, victims of hijacking and all manner of violent crimes,” she says.

The counsellors are also trained to recognise trauma in children and to recommend the appropriate help, Latchman says.

“In other words, an unruly teenager who’s brought to the police station is generally a traumatised teenager who is acting out his trauma, not a naughty child who needs punishment. Victim support counsellors also deal with child abuse and help the police with the removal of children to places of safety when needed. This includes cases of child trafficking,” she says.

The counsellors will also provide help in cases of domestic violence, Latchman says.

The victim-friendly room was not in operation at Ocean View police station for three months due to the resignation of victim support counsellors, Latchman says.

“The appointment of new counsellors will definitely have a positive impact on the help afforded to victims of crime.”

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