Victim Empowerment Centres are centres that were established by the National Department of Social Development in partnership with the National Departments of Community Safety and SAPS. The aim of the centres is to alleviate the trauma experienced by victims of crime who come to the SAPS service centres. The clients are referred to the centres by Police after they have approached the police for various violations of their rights, mostly through crime and violence. Some of the clients are usually very traumatised by their experiences and even find it difficult to express themselves when they report to police at the service centre. These clients are referred to the centres in order to receive counselling services so that they can regain their proper social functioning. Some clients walk into the centres to get general social work services.
NCVT works in the following Police Stations:
• Diepsloot Police Station
• Cosmo City Police Station
• Honeydew Police Station
• Florida Police Station
• Rooderpoort Police Station
The major objectives of the program include the following:
• To promote a healthy lifestyle within families through family counselling
• To identify ways to assess and empower families who are affected by domestic violence and gender based violence.
• To provide psychosocial services to victims of domestic violence, crime and abuse
• To refer clients for further assessment and services.
• To provide child protection services to vulnerable children.
The following are the major services provided at the VECs.
• Trauma debriefing for victims of domestic violence and other violent crimes including accident victims.
• Counselling couples, and partners with relationships problems
• Dealing with all forms of abuse and providing services to victims of abuse
• Focusing on child protection and where possible facilitating the removal of children from abusive situations and referring them to the statutory social workers.
• The VEC provides a one-stop service to all clients who come to the centre to seek help and information on social issues.
• Awareness campaigns are conducted by NCVT staff and the aim is to make people to be aware of their rights to services like social grants, IDs, Foster care, Social Work services access to justice, educational and health services and where to get these. The community is also made aware of the services provided by NCVT in particular and other stakeholders in general.
As clients come into the centres, they are treated according to their presenting problems. If it is a crisis, for example, an abused child who needs removal, an immediate referral is made either to the Department of Social Development or to the organisations doing statutory services, as NCVT does not provide statutory services anymore. If the case is not an emergency, an intake is opened and the clients are referred to the VEC social worker who follows the case to its logical conclusion. Long term cases are referred to the VEP social workers.
A total of 565 cases were dealt with by the Victim Empowerment Program during the six months from October 2017 to March 2018. A total of 3199 beneficiaries were reached through awareness activates as described above.