The Susters4Life 16 Days of Activism Campaign 2018


The Susters4Life 16 Days of Activism Campaign 2018

In December we travelled to 16 towns around the Western Cape, speaking to local communities as part of our campaign for 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children. The theme for this year’s 16 Days of Activism campaign was: Let’s Talk About It.

We spent our time in these towns facilitating dialogues about empowering those affected by gender-based violence. We also covered basic some self defence tips for women, and talked about issues surrounding HIV/AIDS.

Challenges Facing our Communities

Part of our work during this December’s campaign was to identify the biggest issues facing the communities in each of the 16 towns that we visited. These include challenges around service delivery, local clinics, community culture and law enforcement (South African Police Services or SAPS).

These were our findings:

1. CBM:

  • Lack of confidentiality from clinic workers and community workers
  • People do not make use of the services available, as they are not “open” to all
  • Community workers are available in town, but due to lack of confidentiality the community does not approach them for assistance
  • No 24-hour emergency services available to victims of abuse
  • No counselling services available to victims of sexual abuse or rape
  • HIV testing and consults are not kept confidential, so women avoid going to clinics for any testing or counselling

SAPS challenges affecting CBM:

  • Response times are slow
  • Complaints are not responded to or registered
  • Officers refuse to take complaints
  • Language barrier affects communication
  • Cases are often transferred to SAPS Worcester, and there is no communication between investigating officers and complainants

2. MATJIESFONTEIN

  • No community workers available in town
  • Lack of clinic or healthcare workers
  • No support structures available to victims of abuse
  • No counselling services available to victims of sexual abuse or rape

SAPS challenges affecting Matjiesfontein:

  • Matjiesfontein falls under Laingsburg Municipality
  • SAPS Laingsburg has no satellite station in Matjiesfontein
  • Response times are slow
  • Complaints are not responded to or registered
  • Officers refuse to take complaints
  • Language barrier affects communication, community is Afrikaans-speaking and officers are not

3. TOUWS RIVER

  • No community workers available in town
  • No counselling services available to victims of sexual abuse or rape
  • Local clinic is only open during weekdays and office hours
  • No after-hours emergency services available to victims of abuse, nearest is Worcester Hospital

SAPS challenges affecting Touws River:

  • Response times are slow
  • Complaints are not responded to or registered
  • Officers refuse to take domestic abuse complaints, especially when victims are intoxicated
  • Language barrier affects communication, community is Afrikaans-speaking and officers are not

4. DE DOORNS

  • No community workers available in areas where they are needed
  • No counselling services available to victims of sexual abuse or rape
  • Local clinic is not sufficiently staffed
  • Clinic staff requires more training
  • Clinic is dirty
  • Clinic patients wait outside for hours for assistance
  • Elderly and infirm patients do not receive wheelchairs or extra assistance

SAPS challenges affecting De Doorns:

  • Response times are slow
  • Complaints are not responded to or registered
    Officers refuse to take domestic abuse complaints, especially when victims are intoxicated
  • Language barrier affects communication, community is Afrikaans-speaking and officers are not
  • Police station is situated in town, De Doorns has many residential areas and farms outside of town
  • Satellite stations are needed

5. RAWSONVILLE

  • Locals are not aware of any community workers in the area and the services they can provide
  • No after-hours emergency services available to victims of abuse, nearest is Worcester Hospital

SAPS challenges affecting Rawsonville:

  • Protection Orders are not enforced by SAPS
  • Response times are slow
  • Complaints are not responded to or registered
  • Officers refuse to take domestic abuse complaints, especially when victims are intoxicated
  • Language barrier affects communication, community is Afrikaans-speaking and officers are not

6. WORCESTER

  • Locals are not aware of any community workers in the area and the services they can provide

SAPS challenges affecting Worcester:

  • Response times are slow
  • Complaints are not responded to or registered
  • Officers refuse to take domestic abuse complaints, especially when victims are intoxicated
  • Language barrier affects communication, community is Afrikaans-speaking and officers are not

7. PAARL

SAPS challenges affecting Paarl:

  • Protection Orders are not enforced by SAPS
  • Response times are slow
  • Complaints are not responded to or registered
  • Officers refuse to take domestic abuse complaints, especially when victims are intoxicated
  • Language barrier affects communication, community is Afrikaans-speaking and officers are not

8. WELLINGTON

  • Local clinic/ day hospital is not open after hours or weekends
  • Nearest 24-hour emergency services are in Paarl
  • Locals are not aware of any community workers in the area and the services they can provide
  • No counselling services available to victims of sexual abuse or rape that victims are aware of

SAPS challenges affecting Wellington:

  • Response times are slow
  • Complaints are not responded to or registered
  • Officers refuse to take domestic abuse complaints, especially when victims are intoxicated
  • Language barrier affects communication, community is Afrikaans-speaking and officers are not

9. MACASSAR

  • Community workers are available, but people are afraid to use their services because of stigma, or because they have not disclosed to their families
  • Local clinic/ day hospital is not open after hours or weekends
  • Nearest 24-hour emergency services are in Faure or Somerset West

SAPS challenges affecting Macassar:

  • Response times are slow
  • Complaints are not responded to or registered
  • Officers refuse to take domestic abuse complaints, especially when victims are intoxicated
  • Language barrier affects communication, community is Afrikaans-speaking and officers are not

10. MALMESBURY

  • Locals are not aware of any community workers in the area and the services they can provide
  • No counselling services available to victims of sexual abuse or rape that victims are aware of
  • Community is in need of support structures for victims

SAPS challenges affecting Malmesbury:

  • Procedure to acquire a Protection Order is not explained
  • Victims are not assisted with the Protection Order process
    Response times are slow
  • Complaints are not responded to or registered
  • Officers refuse to take domestic abuse complaints, especially when victims are intoxicated
  • Language barrier affects communication, community is Afrikaans-speaking and officers are not

11. LAAIPLEK, VELDDRIF

  • No community workers available in areas where they are needed
  • The community doesn’t not know what services or assistance they can provide
  • No counselling services available to victims of sexual abuse or rape
  • No after-hours emergency services available to any victims of abuse, nearest is Vredenburg
    Local clinic is not centrally located
  • Clinic is not open after hours or weekends
  • Community is in need of support structures for victims

SAPS challenges affecting Laaiplek, Velddrif:

  • Police station is located in the centre of Laaiplek
  • No satellite stations in residential areas outside of town

12. VREDENBURG

  • Locals are not aware of any community workers in the area and the services they can provide
  • No counselling services available to victims of sexual abuse or rape that victims are aware of
  • Community is in need of support structures for victims

SAPS challenges affecting Vredenburg:

  • Response times are slow
  • Complaints are not responded to or registered
  • Officers refuse to take domestic abuse complaints, especially when victims are intoxicated
  • Language barrier affects communication, community is Afrikaans-speaking and officers are not

13. HOPEFIELD

  • Locals are not aware of any community workers in the area and the services they can provide
  • No counselling services available to victims of sexual abuse or rape that victims are aware of
  • Local clinic has a mobile unit to visit farms, but only during weekdays and office hours (plus certain days allocated for mobile services)
  • No after-hours emergency services available to victims of abuse, nearest is Vredenburg or Langebaan Hospital

SAPS challenges affecting Hopefield:

  • Response times are slow
  • Complaints are not responded to or registered
  • Officers refuse to take domestic abuse complaints, especially when victims are intoxicated
  • Language barrier affects communication, community is Afrikaans-speaking and officers are not

14. SALDANHA

  • No after-hours emergency services available to victims of abuse, nearest is Vredenburg or Langebaan Hospital
  • Local clinic is not centrally located
  • Clinic is not open after hours or weekends
  • Locals are not aware of any community workers in the area and the services they can provide
  • No counselling services available to victims of sexual abuse or rape that victims are aware of
  • Community is in need of support structures for victims

SAPS challenges affecting Saldanha:

  • Response times are slow
  • Complaints are not responded to or registered
  • Officers refuse to take domestic abuse complaints, especially when victims are intoxicated
  • Language barrier affects communication, community is Afrikaans-speaking and officers are not

15. ATLANTIS

  • Community hospital is understaffed
  • Complaints regarding the quality of care/ basic services provided by hospital staff
  • Locals are not aware of any community workers in the area and the services they can provide
  • No counselling services available to victims of sexual abuse or rape that victims are aware of
  • Community is in need of support structures for victims

SAPS challenges affecting Atlantis:

  • Response times are slow
  • Complaints are not responded to or registered
  • Officers refuse to take domestic abuse complaints, especially when victims are intoxicated
  • Language barrier affects communication, community is Afrikaans-speaking and officers are not

16. GRABOUW

  • Area has a community hospital and three community clinics that are not located centrally in the various residential and rural areas
  • Complaints regarding the quality of care/ basic services provided by clinic staff
  • Complaints regarding accessibility of the clinics
  • Counselling is available for victims of sexual abuse, substance abuse and rape, however locals are not aware of community workers in their area
  • Community is in need of support structures for victims
  • Community needs to be informed of where they can access the right assistance and services

SAPS challenges affecting Grabouw:

  • Response times are poor due the lack of service vehicles in the area
  • Most abuse cases are not reported
  • SAPS is understaffed and cannot attend to all domestic abuse cases

It’s clear to us that there are a lot of improvements needed in order to provide the best possible support to victims of domestic violence, gender-based violence and abuse. We can see from our findings that many of the same issues and challenges are prevalent throughout the various communities we have visited.

Lack of awareness and limited accessibility are both big factors preventing victims from getting the help they need. We can also see that healthcare staff and law enforcement officers are lacking the training or resources needed to properly assist abuse victims.

Identifying these issues is an important step towards addressing them, and improving the services available to those affected by gender-based violence.

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