The re-launch of a victim support room at the Lingelethu West Police Station in Khayelitsha will surely offer much needed space to those at the receiving end of crime and abuse towards a journey of healing.
Sponsored by Khayelitsha SuperSpar, the room is designed to assist victims of crimes such as domestic violence, rape and related atrocities.
The re-launch was attended by Colonel Mike Reitz, station commander, Major-General Johan Brandt, SAPS Khayelitsha Cluster Commander, John Cloete, a representative from the Department of Community Safety, Olwethu Hlangu, from Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court, Andrew Anthony, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Business Against Crime Western Cape, Kokkie Crous, the owner of Khayelitsha SuperSpar, volunteers for the victim support room, religious leaders and locals.
Brandt encouraged residents to utilise the facility, which will be open day and night.
“I believe this is a practical thing. The victim support room is a vital link to the victims of crime. The community should ensure that they utilise it,” he said.
Anthony said residents should speak out when they know any criminal activities in their area including domestic violence.
“The biggest enemy in the fight against crime is silence. We call on everybody to be silent no more. Raise your voice and name the perpetrators of violent against women and children. Crime is a monster that is disturbing peace,” Anthony said.
Cloete said his department has learnt through a recent study that levels of fear for violent crime are on the rise among the residents of the area.
“Western Cape(results of the study) indicated that(it has) the highest percentage of people who(live in) fear of domestic violence and other crimes,” Cloete said.
Hlangu said the court also has an office designed to help the victims of domestic violence and that residents should also utilise it.
She also raised her concerns about those who open cases of domestic violence and then drop the charges “without realising that it (abuse) is going to continue”.
Lwando Qali, a volunteer medical practitioner from the University of Western Cape (UWC), applauded the victim support room and said it will really helping the residents.
He said they also linked the victims with organisations such as Saphila Ekuhlaleni, a community based organisation which helps with counselling.
Lunga Guza, a member of Community Police Forum (CPF), also said the victim support room is a much needed facility in the community. Crous said he did not hesitate to answer the call to support the facility. He said it is one of many other projects that he is supporting in the area.