Psycho-social support services and trauma counselling were close to non-existent in communities affected by crime and violence. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency
Psycho-social support services and trauma counselling were close to non-existent in communities affected by crime and violence. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency

Need for psycho-social aid in vulnerable Western Cape communities

By Shakirah Thebus Time of article published Sep 16, 2020

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Cape Town - Psycho-social support services and trauma counselling were close to non-existent in communities affected by crime and violence.

This was the sentiment shared by social worker Lorraine Moko, who works across communities within the Western Cape in the NGO sector.

She said NGOs working at a grass-roots level were in urgent need of social workers and psychologists to assist in the communities they serve.

Trauma debriefing is critical for communities faced with disproportionately higher crime rates, she said.

“We are living as a very traumatised nation. There is so much happening, especially with Covid-19.

“On a daily basis, communities are not accessing psycho-social support services following a traumatic event,” she said.

“Although many have leaned on religious figures such as pastors and imams, for support and counsel, many of them remain ill-equipped and trained to conduct basic counselling sessions.”

Psychologist and Reclaiming Fathers and Sons founder, Ayanda Mfanekiso, said one of the biggest issues he had seen working in rural, urban and farm areas and townships, was the misconception attached to seeking therapy.

“People have a misconception that once you see a psychologist, there is something wrong with you. They do not see it as a tool that is there to help you. Especially among disadvantaged people.

"They have sort of stigmatised it to the point where people don’t want to be referred to a social worker.”

He said men did not have an emotional language with which to express themselves.

Community Cohesion founder and director, Bronwyn Moore, said in communities she had worked in, she had seen victims access psycho-social support services, but this was not highlighted or made known for the sake of client confidentiality and ethics.

Community Cohesion offers psycho-social support for victims of violence and crime in Hout Bay, Ocean View, Masiphumelele, Fish Hoek, Simon’s Town, Redhill and surrounds.

“South Africa has signed up for the UN Victims Charter which means victims have rights and responsibilities and we need to hold service providers accountable for not letting people know their rights to access services.”

For assistance (violence against women and children) contact 0800428428/ or 0616836943, *120*7861# or SMS “help” to 31531.

Cape Argus

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