SAPS women revamp victim centre

THE SAPS Women Network in Pinetown have taken it upon themselves to renovate their Victim Friendly Facility, which will be launched and re-opened on Wednesday July 25.

The SAPS Women Network is a national organisation that consists of women who are employed as SAPS.

SAPS Women Network spokesperson Songezwa Mthintso said: “It’s a forum where women get together, within the province and nationally, and it’s been functioning for more than 10 years. We do women empowerment projects internally and externally. We also do other projects that are based around issues of policing, social ills and other issues affecting the community. We have a lot of projects that we do, such as identifying a place, like an orphanage or a home, where we can offer help.”

Speaking about the Victim Friendly Facility she said that it assists victims who have been abused, raped, or who were victims of any form of crime. The facility accommodates them for 24 hours before referring them to the relevant departments.

Mthintso said: “The Victim Friendly Facility used to be in an office which was not wheelchair friendly. We identified a new office, which is wheelchair friendly, so we moved our facility into that office because some of our victims are physically disabled, making it hard for them to move up the stairs.

“We received a helping hand as well as donations from our employees that included paint, upholstery cleaning, buying of tiles and other necessary items. We have a five litre bottle where staff members donate any amount of money. They have been helpful and we are grateful for that.”

“We recently went to Sanlam Centre to hand out pamphlets to create awareness about safety in the malls because some people think that they are safe when they are at a mall.

“We have partnered with different stakeholders, such as the Safer Cities Programme, Department of Social Development, the Metro Police, and the Department of Health, on a project called Qalakabusha [start afresh] which is an on-going project where we rehabilitate whoonga addicts. We also go to the schools and conduct educational talks about the dangers of crime.

“The forum creates awareness on sexual abuse, gender-based violence and crimes against women and children,” Mthintso said. The Pinetown SAPS women recently visited a centre for the disabled where they educated the residents about their rights.

“We also initiated a programme, called Take a Girl Child to Work, which was held at the station. The programme focused on educating young girls on careers available within the SAPS.

“We also have a programme where we ask our employees to donate non-perishable food.

“We used to give those donations to needy people in the community however we soon realised that some employees are also struggling, even though they get paid as some have personal and financial issues.”

For more information on the SAPS Women Network call 031 325 5041.