A safe haven for abused children

2015-07-29 10:53
Angel Crisis Centre staff (from left) social worker Yolokazi Mjoli, chairperson Carolyn Hancock and Sister Zethu Dladla in the reception area of the Angels Care Centre in Howick.

Angel Crisis Centre staff (from left) social worker Yolokazi Mjoli, chairperson Carolyn Hancock and Sister Zethu Dladla in the reception area of the Angels Care Centre in Howick. (Ian Carbutt)

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WITH just one in 10 rapes reported on average in South Africa, a Karkloof woman has opened a crisis centre focused on helping children who have been sexually assaulted.

The Angel Crisis Centre, founded by forensic geneticist Carolyn Hancock, is a “safe haven” for children who have been victims of gender-based violence and is a new addition to the pre-school Angel Care Centre opposite the Howick police station.

Hancock said with such high rape statistics in South Africa affecting 70% of children under the age of 12, there was a need for a “safe place” where children could go to report the assault, with a social worker and nurse on standby for the child’s needs.

“Rape is a major problem in this country and once a child has been sexually assaulted it is even more traumatising to have to go to through the process of going to the police to report the case and then going somewhere else for a medical examination.

“At the crisis centre, we have created a space where the police can come to the child to take the statement and the child is immediately seen by a social worker and a nurse.

“Counselling is ongoing after the assault has occurred and our nurse has worked with sexual assault victims previously.”

The centre was opened at the school as Hancock said the school had been around for 12 years and was known in Howick as a “child-friendly” ­environment. She said the closest centre similar to Angel Crisis Centre was a government facility in Edendale and for some people living in rural areas around Howick, it is over 60 km away.

“We are opposite Howick SAPS and a few buildings down from the clinic and also down the road from the Social Development Department.

“Our centre works with them all and connects everyone to work together.”

“We have already had a lot of support from the Howick police and have already started to work with them on a few cases,” she said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  child abuse
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