WESTERN CAPE – The Western Cape police stepped up the fight against Gender Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) with the relaunch of the Laingsburg police’s victim friendly room at an event hosted at the police station on Friday, 06 January 2023.
Senior police management, leaders of Business Against Crime (BAC), representatives of the Department of Social Development, non-governmental organizations, community police forums, local leaders and members of the community descended on the police station to celebrate this important intervention. The victim friendly room (VFR) is a service where victims of crime are empowered with emotional support, practical support, information is shared and victims get referred to professional support services.
The relaunch of the VFR was made possible in partnership with Business Against Crime after the room was renovated and fully refurbished. BAC representative, Mr Shaun Koen in addressing attendees, emphasized the importance of the partnership with police to ensure that all the police stations are equipped with everything a victim of crime needs.
Western Cape Provincial Head responsible for visible policing, Brigadier Zukiswa Matumbu, urged police members to ensure that the Ministerial six point plan is fully implemented and that victims of crime receive all benefits associated with the plan. It includes the following:
1. All victims should be treated with respect and dignity and interviewed by a trained police official in a victim sensitive manner.
2. Victims should be assisted in a victim friendly or alternative room, where a statement will be taken in private providing victim support services.
3. Victims will be referred/taken for medical examination by the healthcare professional to obtain medical evidence and complete a medical report, including seeing to the health of the victim.
4. The investigation should be conducted by the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Investigation Unit or a detective with relevant training.
5. Victims of sexual offences, femicide and infanticide and their families should be referred to victim support services that are available within the precinct for legal, medical, social and psychological help.
6. Victims should be proactively and continuously given feedback on the progress of their cases.
Central Karoo Acting District Commissioner, Brigadier Johan Du Toit, made a call on sister departments, non-governmental organizations, community leaders and the community to work hand in hand with the police in the fight against crime especially GBVF. Brig Du Toit said, “It is our responsibility to ensure that the rights of victims of crime are at all times protected. All victims must be treated with fairness, respect and courtesy when reporting incidents of crime. There should be no discrimination, regardless of their circumstances, population group, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation or appearance. It is now the responsibility of all of us to put systems in place for the full utilization of the improved facilities in the victim friendly room”, he concluded.
Source: South African Police Service