From the news desk

Govt support services launched at Saartjie Baartman

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With the last few days of Women’s Month, the Department of Social Development (DSD) has launched the Khuseleka One Stop Centre at the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women & Children in Athlone. The Khuseleka Model is an initiative of the DSD that provides support services to women and children who are victims of crime and violence under the Victim Empowerment Programme.

The Khuseleka Model aims to strengthen inter-sectoral collaboration and improve referral protocols by offering a continuum of services from key government departments and institutions to victims of crime and violence in one space.

This is the first centre to be launched in the Western Cape Province. Minister Albert Fritz says that the DSD wants to see a centre, such as this, developing and hope to open one in every area of this province.

“The Khuseleka model basically speaks to the inclusion of government divisions with NGOs from one central point,” explained Shaheema McLeod, director of the Saartjie Baartman Centre.

The Department has allocated R3.28-million to the Khuseleka One Stop Centre for the key objective of providing a 24-hour “place of refuge” for victims of crime. In addition to the Saartjie Baartman staff complement, the Khuseleka Model allocates an additional two social workers and two social auxiliary workers, and this will see the centre render services such as shelter services, trauma counselling and psychological support and referral and follow-up to nearest health care facility.

“The idea is that we want to create a place of refuge for victims, this one being the first one stop shop victim empowerment centre for women of abuse,” said Minister Fritz.

Fritz says the Saartjie Baartman Centre was chosen because the centre comes a long way in terms of victim empowerment.

“The kind of work that they do allowed us to partner with them for this initiative.”

The Khuseleka Model is a partnership with the Saartjie Baartman Centre, the South African Police Services, the Hawks, the National Prosecuting Authority, SASSA, Business Against Crime, the Western Cape Departments of Community Safety and Education, the National Departments of Justice, Correctional Services and Home Affairs.

“The success of this is that it is a partnership of all our stake holders on the government side you have the police you have the department of justice and social development working with the department of health and we have partnership with NGOs who work with victims,” Minister Fritz continued.

The Khuseleka model was launched on the 16th birthday of the Saartjie Baartman Centre and today the centre is accommodating 100 women who are victims of abuse along with their children.

“When a client comes to us she will not only be able to access services from the NGO sector but support services from government as well,” McLeod added. VOC (Umarah Hartley)

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