Cleaning up after crime or trauma

Wheeler said that the task of Crime Wash is to enter the scene after clearance by authorised personnel and only attend to the areas that require cleaning.

“There is no glamour nor investigative involvement in this sector of the scene,” said Wheeler.

When asked about training, she said: “Crime Wash technicians essentially need to have the ability to detach from the events of the scene.

“A poor olfactory sense is always a positive and approach, their role is offering a service to the community so they do need to maintain an emphatic­ approach to the survivor to ensure that the service offered does not result in a secondary trauma.”

She said the hardest part of their job is that almost every survivor - parent, spouse, sibling, etc - wants to hold onto the belongings that the deceased was wearing or surrounded by at the time of the trauma.

“Due to health requirements we are obliged to remove all items that have been affected by blood and/or bodily fluids and incinerate these items.

“Explaining that this procedure needs to be followed is a sensitive one.

“The second area of difficulty is the final stage of the clean-up wherein the survivor is debriefed by a Crime Wash representative and reintroduced into the trauma area.

“Anxiety and fear is constantly present and we attempt to minimise as far as possible the immediate points that will require counseling by professionals.

“This is an important phase of the clean up and unique to the Crime Wash approach.”

She said that although their job is difficult, it is their passion to serve the community and support individuals they interact with, which keeps them going.

“Watching a survivor re-enter the trauma area and interact with the Crime Wash team means we made a difference. Leaving a memory that says ‘we care’ makes it all worthwhile.”

Her message to those that want to follow this career path is: “You have to have a passion for it”.

“You need to be willing to serve the community and reap the rewards of reaching out to someone and easing their pain.

“If anyone wants to make money in this industry, they are in the wrong profession.”

To find out more, email crime wash@gmail.com

 

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