New beginings at haven

 Safe House director Kathy Cronje and subcouncil 19 chairperson Felicity Purchase. PHOTO: nicole mccain
Safe House director Kathy Cronje and subcouncil 19 chairperson Felicity Purchase. PHOTO: nicole mccain

The South Peninsula now has a safe haven for vicitms of abuse.

The Safe House, based in the Ocean View precinct, offers temporary safe care facilities for abused women and children and was officially opened on Friday 26 August.

The Safe House was started by Kathy Cronje who, after working in the victim support centre at the Ocean View Police Station, realised that often women who are the victims of domestic violence or sexual assault did not have a safe place to go.

It is estimated that around 84 000 rapes take place in the province annually, and in many cases the perpetrator is known to the victim, Cronje explains. “After rape or domestic violence cases, the women often had nowhere to go and ended up returning to their homes and attackers.”

In addition, domestic violence between partners is common place within the precinct, says Ocean View station commander Colonel Errol Mekeur, who adds several cases are reported to the station every month.

Deep South communities also face challenges of poverty and substance abuse, which contribute to domestic violence and abuse, Cronje explains.

This inspired a five-year journey to create a haven for these women.

John Muir, Safe House chairman, adds: “Our clients are women who are broken emotionally, and sometimes physically, and deserve a better life.”

The Safe House, which has been operating since December, has assisted around two dozen clients across a range of backgrounds, says Cronje.

Safe House social worker Alison Brown says many of the clients have been exposed to drug abuse as well as domestic violence. “We are a space where hope can grow and each client is 100% supported. The counselling is person centred and based on each client’s needs and goals. Many of the clients have faced lifelong trauma and have no family support,” she says.

Ocean View Care Centre’s Marti Weddepohl adds: “There is finally a facility in side the valley that recognises the devastation abuse reeks on women’s lives. The Safe House does restorative work in every aspect of these women’s lives.”

V Contact the Safe House manager on 021 785 1168 or by email at info@safehouse.org.za

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