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Mar '10

Day 190: Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

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My full new itinerary including Namibia and Botswana to the end of the tour (19 May 2010).

To watch Buddy and Me in real time click here, select South Africa under “Global Fleet Logins:” in the left hand panel, enter cellphone number 0822549129 and password Buddy.

To make a donation to or information on any of the organisations involved in assisting victims of child rape and abuse, please click on one of the following links:

Bobbi Bear Foundation (KwaZulu-Natal)
The Teddy Bear Clinic (Gauteng)
The TygerBear Foundation (Western Cape)
GRIP (Mpumalanga)
StepThru (Gauteng)

Today was yet another incredible day in my life. It started with a visit to the Beares store in Parow where I met the tremendous people working there, and after spending a few hours chatting to them I headed into the heart of Cape Town to the store in Long Street where I had another very long chat with the Beares staff and guests.

<i><b>Beares</b> staff Parow</i>

Beares staff Parow

<i><b>Beares</b> staff Cape Town Long Street</i>

Beares staff Cape Town Long Street

As I said in my previous blog, as from today I will start providing details of the 6 factors which I have identified during my extensive travels around South Africa as being the factors which need to be seriously looked at if our government is serious about stopping the rape and sexual abuse of children, and please bare in mind that this project and proposal is based on the stopping of the rape and sexual abuse of children in the birth to 12 years of age group of children.

Factor 1 is the desperate need of a national facility which would provide the desperately needed support structure for child rape victims. During my travels around South Africa as well as the rest of Africa on my ‘African Odyssey – Searching for a Solution to Stopping the Rape and Sexual Abuse of Children’ project, I had many hours to think while driving Buddy. During these thought process’s I formulated what I called a ‘One stop shop’ facility in my mind and was in fact pleasantly surprised when I was introduced to the Thuthuzela Care Centres which have been established at provincial hospitals in various areas around South Africa. The part that really amazed me is the fact that the facility is probably one of South Africa’s best kept secrets because even the people living in the communities where the Thuthuzela Care centres have been established, do not know of their existence.

The Thuthuzela Care Centre facility is, so I am told, the initiative of the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) and is, I believe, a tremendous initiative and would be the perfect facility to provide child rape victims with the proper support structure they need if they provided the on premises services as described in their brochure.

The programme commenced, I am told, in 2000 which means that it has been around for the past 9/10 years and I have been told that 18 centres have been established during the past 9/10 years, however my visits to numerous centres indicates that not one of the facilities is fully operative on the basis as described in their brochure.

I believe that factor one in the combating and stopping of child rape requires the:

  • Formation of a Thuthuzela Care Centre (TCC) being established at every provincial hospital in South Africa.
  • Every TCC must have, on its premises, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:

a) A qualified female police official, the details of the qualifications needed by this police official will be discussed in factor 4 in a few days
b) A doctor
c) A forensics nurse
d) An adequate number of social workers, as in for providing counselling to victims and in situations where needed, family members, on the premises

In addition to these services, it is essential that every centre has a fully equipped examination room, bath/shower facilities as well as available transport for victims to and from the centre.

At present doctors and nurses at all TCC’s, although being situated on hospital premises, takes hours to respond to calls from the centres and this is the same situation with the police. The current situation at all TCC’s is that, when a rape victim reports a rape to the centre, the centre notifies the local police, the response as in most cases around South Africa can take hours, and is in most cases in the form of a male police official, whoever is on duty, who wants to get the matter sorted out as quick as possible which results in a garbled statement being taken from a child who, by the way, was just raped and subjected to excruciating pain and humiliation by the same species as the policeman, as in the male species, and so she does not co-operate, hence the ridiculously low conviction rate of between 4 and 6 percent being experienced in South Africa. But as I said, more about this in factor 4 in a few days time.

Obviously the TCC’s must be available for victims of domestic violence as well but it is essential that specialised staff, particularly in the form of the police and social workers must be available for child rape victims in that they need the skills and training to be able to extract the delicate information from the victim (survivor) in order to ensure the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator. I will be going into more detail on this aspect in factor 4.

During my travels I have identified the fact that there are literally hundreds of NGO’s/NPO’s scattered all over South Africa providing similar support services to child rape victims as well as victims of domestic violence and unfortunately it is my humble opinion that these organisations are falling over each other and in many cases are not functioning as they are supposed to but are rather competing for business and the services they provide are spread over far too broad a spectrum.

Finally, based on governments past history, it is also my opinion that the TCC’s must be independently managed and not run as a government department. The reason I say this is the fact that in spite of the TCC being a truly brilliant initiative, it has taken government 9/10 years to get the centres to the level they are currently at and this after having spent, what I have been told, an absolute fortune with not one of the centres operating as they should be.

So that is factor one of my proposal to our esteemed government as to what needs to be done to stop the rape and sexual abuse of the children of South Africa. Tomorrow I will provide details of factor two, so stay tuned to this website.

So with that ‘Buddy and Me’ will love and leave you until tomorrow when we visit the Mitchell’s Plein area of Cape Town. If the information I was provided on my last visit during 2005 is anything to go by I am expecting to hear some horrific information and storeys tomorrow, so until then good night, sleep tight and above all, keep the children of South Africa safe.

Caring regards from
‘Buddy and Me’ (Steve Heath)
I welcome your comments on factor one of my proposal on what needs to be done to stop the rape of children, so please e-mail me with your comments, suggestions and opinions.

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