Cop shop searches for additional counsellors

2019-06-04 06:00

Ocean View Police Station is calling on volunteers to help those who have faced traumatic experiences, ahead of the trauma room’s official reopening on Saturday 15 June.

Launched in June 2016, the victim support room in Ocean View was a first of its kind. “Ocean View was the first police station in the Western Cape to have a trauma room and the need to assist victims of crime is still of great importance due to the high violent crime rate,” said Ocean View Police Station spokesperson, Sergeant Leon Fortuin.

The support room is equipped with an office, bathrooms and two counselling rooms, but due to the station being understaffed, has not been in use for more than a year.

Without counsellors to speak to sufferers, Fortuin explained they could not accommodate all victims of crime in need of trauma counselling.

With the crime rate as high as it is, the need for these counselling rooms is of great importance, especially for children.

Clinical social worker Claudia Roodt is in the process of developing trauma-informed care in Cape Town and says that trauma in children affects their ability to learn.

This makes the formation of trustworthy relationships extremely important.

“Children’s nervous systems need to be assisted to calm down in order to feel safe. Only then can we build a connection and start a conversation. We need to treat the child from a trauma-responsive perspective,” she says.

According to Roodt, a child who does not deal with their trauma engages in high-risk behaviour which can manifest in the form of adult drug usage, the formation of gang affiliations and other activities that create unsafe environments.

With the need for trustworthy people and safe spaces to facilitate the success of the support room at the station, it is crucial to find volunteers who will be able to counsel victims of trauma.

“We are appealing to anyone who is available to become a counsellor to please come forward. Training will be provided free of charge by the Department of Community Safety,” says Fortuin.

“The need for a trauma room in Ocean View is extremely high,” he concludes.

V Contact Sergeant Leon Fortuin on 082 522 2618 to volunteer or visit the Ocean View Police Station on Saturday 15 June.

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