We operate two trauma centres in Vhembe, conveniently located on the grounds of the Donald Fraser and Tshilidzini hospitals. Rapists and abusers don’t have office hours, so our trauma centres never close—we operate 24/7, 365 days a year. These centres provide assistance to victims of rape, sexual assault, domestic abuse, and severe trauma (such as suicide attempts). When a victim arrives at our door, he or she is assigned a victim advocate (VA) and that VA becomes their “buddy” through the entire process including medical exams, police interviews, psycho-social counselling, and follow-up visits. As part of our services, we also provide care packages with comfort and hygiene items so that victims can start the healing after the exams are complete. For victims who have nowhere else to go or for whom it is not safe to return to their home, we also provide temporary shelter at the centres, up to one month.
An independent 2014 studyfound our “buddy” system reduces the rate of PTSD occurrences in abuse and assault victims when compared with similar trauma programmes. Our “buddy” system is also directly responsible for a PEP compliance rate of 85% for survivors who visit the Trauma Centres (nearly 2xs the 2016 estimated national average of 30%). Over the last 10 years, our trauma centres have helped:
SEXUAL ASSAULT SURVIVORS
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVORS
Despite our successes with the trauma centres and the “buddy system, we have many challenges. On revolves around timely examinations. We do our best to have victims examined by a doctor within 30 minutes of arriving at the centre, but that is entirely dependent on the availability of doctors. Some victims wait up to 24 hours for an exam—that’s 24 hours of smelling her rapist and not being able to wash or go to the toilet. Another challenge we face is that we are only able to offer temporary shelter to victims for one month or less. Our long term goal is to one day be able to provide long-term shelter and skills enhancement to victims who have no other alternatives.
Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Programme (TVEP) is located in the Limpopo province of South Africa. We focus on providing prevention, empowerment and support services in five thematic areas: HIV/AIDS, child abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, and LGBTI/ minorities.
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171 Mathaphu st, Thohoyandou Q, next to Mbilwi Sec School, Sibasa, 0970