Domestic violence under spotlight

2019-06-18 06:00
Attendees at the domestic violence workshop said the presentation was great. PHOTO: SIPHESIHLE NOTWABAZA

Attendees at the domestic violence workshop said the presentation was great. PHOTO: SIPHESIHLE NOTWABAZA

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A group of residents gathered at the Mitchell’s Plain Police Station last Wednesday 12 June for a domestic violence workshop organised by Mitchell’s Plain United Residents Association (MURA).

The workshop was held at the station’s boardroom and was attended by various speakers including provincial senior public prosecutor Garry Titus and MURA chairman Norman Janties.

MURA is a community organisation that seeks to address issues in the community and also to be the voice for the residents.

Titus delivered a presentation on domestic violence. The presentation touched on various issues regarding domestic violence including victimisation, domestic relationships, acts of domestic violence and sexual abuse, among others things.

He explained the topics and helped the residents to redevelop their understanding of how these play out in life.

Titus emphasised the importance of reporting domestic violence to organisations such as Thuthuzela Care Centre. The centre deals intensely with domestic violence cases, he told the workshop.

According to Titus, it is important for domestic cases to be dealt with carefully and sensitively.

“The way we (as police officers and counsellors) advise our clients when dealing with domestic violence cases is very important. We must educate our clients very well,” he explained.

He said victims of domestic abuse and violence have the right to know the progress of their cases.

He warned officials to give constant and proper advice to the victims to eliminate undue expectations.

“When the information has been lodged to the South African Police Services, they do not have to arrest immediately, they must follow the procedure and determine if an arrest is necessary,” he explained.

Part of his presentation was also about the process that gets followed when the case goes to court.

Titus admitted that domestic violence was prevalent and urged residents to look out for themselves.

He advised them to apply for protection orders against their abusers. He also appealed to religious groups to play their part in calling men to order.

“I want religious leaders to understand the impact their effect has in the communities,” Titus said.

Before he concluded his presentation, he advised residents who might be going through domestic violence to have safety plans in place.

“An action plan must be easy and quick, and you must keep it where an abuser cannot find it,” he advised.

He appealed to the residents to have small bags that they can use in situations where they wanted to escape secretly. According to him, an identity document (ID), drivers license, work permit (if one is a foreigner) and a certified copy of the protection order must be kept in a small bag where they will not be seen by an abuser. He also mentioned a duplicate key.

“If you escape with your child with no uniform, you will not send that child to school without uniform because people will start asking questions,” he explained.

He added the answers the victim gives to the questions could lend on the ear of the abuser. His advice on that was for victims of abuse to have spare uniform or pack in advance if they wanted to escape.

Amina Coetzee, a lay counsellor for Network of Care, thanked Titus for sharing the information. She described the workshop as informative. “This was very helpful, it gave us more information on how we can best handle victims because sometimes we do get challenges,” Coetzee said.

Network of Care assists victims of domestic violence by offering counselling. They also accompany victims for court appearances. Coetzee said the organisation seeks to wipe away tears of victims and to change victims to survivors when they get out of court.

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