Picture: Holger Kraft/Pixabay

Johannesburg - A "victims of crime" survey carried out by the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) indicates that South Africans are no longer safe in their own homes, a situation which the institution said points "to a country that is undergoing severe trauma".

Commenting on the survey at the weekend, the CSVR said the home was supposed to be a place of refuge, but was under attack with house breaking crimes taking top spot in the just released Victims of Crime Survey 2018/2019 report.

CSVR said millions of South Africans were unsafe at home, given the high rates of burglaries reported through the survey and as a consequence, there was a high likelihood that most citizens were experiencing severe trauma. 

An increase in crimes in which weapons were used be it guns or knives, added a new dimension likely to worsen the victims’ trauma.

The levels of crime and associated trauma painted a picture that the crime situation had gone far beyond crisis, with people living in fear inside their homes, said the CSVR. 

The centre said there seems to be no escape.

"Violence is coming into spaces that are precious to us such as the home, a key institution for protecting us against the harsh realities of our context," said Nomfundo Mogapi, CSVR Executive Director.

"Your home should be the place you run to when you are feeling unsafe. So what happens when your home, your place of refuge is under attack? The levels of traumatisations are likely to be higher because these crimes are happening in what should be a safe space,"

The centre said the crisis in South African’s homes was further exacerbated by the high levels of sexual and gender based violence. 

"Even more worrying is the increased number of children who committed crime according to the police crime states, suggesting that violence is not only being normalised but actualised and people may feel unsafe from their own children," said the CSVR. 

"The importance of the home as a key institution is being eroded, the home is under attack from many angles."

The centre suggested a multi-pronged approach to making the home safe and provision of psychosocial services at individual and family levels.

"As CSVR we are realising that people that come to us for counselling are not just presenting with simple trauma but are presenting with complicated trauma and this needs much more specialised services and these are lacking. South Africans need to start prioritising their wellness,” said Mogapi.

African News Agency/ANA