No fear if you defend yourself

2016-10-18 06:00
Clients of and visitors to the League of Friends of the Blind (Lofob) in Grassy Park received self-defence training from the police.  PHOTO: Chevon Booysen

Clients of and visitors to the League of Friends of the Blind (Lofob) in Grassy Park received self-defence training from the police. PHOTO: Chevon Booysen

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Following recent break-ins at a blind-care facility in Grassy Park, clients were taught self-defence to empower them against such burglaries and attacks.

Partnering with Grassy Park police station, clients of and visitors to the League of the Friends of the Blind (Lofob) were given a class focussing on self-defence techniques to use if they should ever feel threatened by criminals.

This comes after the Lofob building was a target for opportunistic criminals (“Centre for blind a target”, People’s Post, 23 August). Visitors believed their lives were in danger.

Lofob spokesperson Heidi Volkwijn says they are very pleased with the efforts made by the police to ensure their safety at the centre.

“Previously we did not have a lot of visible policing, but since then we are very pleased to acknowledge, with a lot of gratitude, we have been receiving support from the police. They have been engaging with us in a very positive and meaningful way. We have blue-light patrols around the centre more often now,” Volkwijn says.

She adds Lofob’s clients feel safer since receiving the support from Grassy Park police.

“They are feeling a lot more safe in their residences compared to how they felt after the centre was targeted. It was not a nice thing for us because people would not want to come to training as they felt unsafe. The increase in policing means a lot to our clients,” she says.

Volkwijn says police also engaged with younger visitors at the centre in a follow-up with adults at Lofob.

“This self-defence [class] really means a lot to a person who is blind because he is very vulnerable. Because if someone were to attack him he never really would know how to react in such an instance. This is really important to make him feel confident in using spaces outside of the centre as well again,” she says.

Grassy Park police’s Captain Isedore Smith, who facilitated the safety talk and techniques session, says Lofob highlighted their vulnerability after the organisation became a crime target.

“We had to come up with a strategy to empower them and this is one of it. We want them to feel safe,” Smith says.

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