Albert Fritz, MPP
Western Cape Minister of Social Development
Today, in commemorating Women’s Month, I have officially launched the Western Cape Directory of Services for Victims of Crime and Violence, in Mitchell’s Plain.
In the lead up to National Women’s Day on the 9 August, we pay tribute to the many sacrifices women have made over the years and their achievements in the Western Cape and the rest of the country.
However we also have to acknowledge the many challenges still faced by thousands of women on a daily basis, one of the most serious challenges being abuse and violence against them.
Domestic violence tops the list of complaints received at the Mitchell’s Plain police station on a monthly basis.
There is also often confusion over which services can be accessed and where victims can and should be referred to for assistance.
For this reason, my department, in partnership with national departments such as the South African Police Services, the Department of Justice & Constitutional Development, NGOs and the private sector have compiled this directory, which is a comprehensive and detailed guide of where victims of violence can access assistance and services.
The levels of assistance needed differ from one case to the next and this directory distinguishes between all the various role players, and what specific services they render.
The directory contains important contact information for:
- police stations,
- medical services,
- Thuthuzela Care Centres,
- Shelters for victims of violence,
- human trafficking service organisations and
- psycho-social support services like counselling and other therapeutic services.
We will start by making the directory available at all 151 police stations across the province, so that they can be used particularly by the counsellors and facilitators in the victim friendly rooms available at the stations. It will also be made available to all magistrates, libraries and other organisations working in the victim empowerment sector.
While I have today handed over a hard copy, the electronic version is available on our website, and will constantly be updated. This directory is a living document and we will ensure that we keep the online version current and up to date to ensure quick and efficient service delivery in times of critical need.
Tackling the abuse and violence against women requires a whole-of-society approach. While this directory will assist victims in accessing services, it is critical that all three spheres government, the private sector, civil society, communities and individuals work together to stop violence against women and children. This includes providing support to women and children, working with men and boys to change the current culture of violence that exists in some families and communities and courts delivering strong sentences against perpetrators found guilty of violence against women. This directory is testament to our belief that addressing violence against women in our province is best done “Better Together”.