Comfort for victims

2018-11-13 06:01
Sergeant Angeline Grill gives local residents Taswell Visagie and Hilda Petersen a tour of the Victim Support Room at the Kensington Police Station. PHOTO: luvuyo mjekula

Sergeant Angeline Grill gives local residents Taswell Visagie and Hilda Petersen a tour of the Victim Support Room at the Kensington Police Station. PHOTO: luvuyo mjekula

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Support to crime victims during their time of trauma is just one of the benefits the newly revamped Victim Support Room is set to offer the community of Kensington.

The benefits are to assist and support the victim to get over the trauma, says Sergeant Angeline Grill.

“The difference with this room is, (ordinarily) you go to the charge office, lay your charge and that would be it, you would wait for the detective to get back to you with whatever it is the detective needs to investigate. But with the trauma room, our volunteers actually follow up.

“So after you have been with one of the volunteers and you get referred to either Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit (FCS) or to a social worker, we just try to follow up with the victims, to say, ‘are you still going to your sessions, are you still okay, do you need any other assistance?’ So this is the kind of difference we at Kensington SAPS would like to make to our community,” Grill explains.

Sponsored by supermarket Spar and local Business Against Crime, the room with two separate areas for adults and children is located inside the police station and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

It is not limited to victims of crime.

Stresses Grill: “We would like to reiterate to the community – you don’t have to be a victim of a crime – you could maybe be a mommy struggling with a son or daughter who is a substance abuser or you don’t know what to do with the child who is truant,you can also come to the room. If it’s not a police function, we know who to refer those people to.”

The room was recently renovated. Grill says a group within the local Hillsong Church adopted the room as a charity project and gave it a new look.

Newly painted walls, comfortable sofas, mini chairs and a table, as well as toys for child victims, all give the room “a nice warm feeling”, adds Grill.

Teresa Poverello, leader of the group, explains: “It was so exciting to see that there were two rooms and not just one, as I was struggling with the idea of making one room into a special place for teens, adults and little ones. We wanted to make this a place somewhere we believe the healing process will begin, where whoever went into those rooms will feel safe, loved and cared for.”

Poverello says besides painting and decorating the rooms, they also made up care packs ranging from the age of two to adults. The care packs for the teen to adult women each contain a towel, facecloth, panties, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, wet wipes, tissues, creams, hand sanitiser, foot balm and a handcrafted card with an encouraging Bible verse.

The care packs for the younger age group contain a facecloth, toothbrush, toothpaste, wet wipes, tissues, crayons, colouring book, a packet of sweets, and a handrafted card with an encouraging Bible verse.

She says the mural on the wall in the children’s room was the brainchild of an artist in the group.

“Going forward we are hoping to return soon to paint the passage, entrance area and the bathroom.

“We will also replenish the care packs as they are needed, as well as the fluffy stuffed toys, as each child that walks through those doors will be able to choose a ‘fluffy friend’ to keep,” says Poverello.

V For more information, call the Kensington Police Station on 021 594 7047/28.

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