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Help for GBV victims in the Free State

Written by More Matshediso

The Free State Department of Health has designated 32 health facilities and assigned trained medical officials and forensic nurses to meet the needs of victims and survivors of gender-based violence (GBV).

Four of the facilities are Thuthuzela Care Centres, which were established by the Department of Social Development (DSD) in partnership with the National Prosecuting Authority.

This is according to the manager of clinical services at the regional health department, Priscilla Monyobo, who is also a forensic nurse and president of the South African Forensic Nursing Association.

“About 80% of GBV victims who access our services are transported by members of the South African Police Service and about 20% walk into our facilities to ask for help,” she explains.

Monyobo says the facilities are led by the DSD, which is mainly responsible for coordinating all stakeholder plans on GBV interventions. This means that her department works in collaboration with the DSD and other stakeholders to convene joint plans and programmes that assist GBV victims.

“Various departments and stakeholders have specific mandates on GBV. For example, the Department of Justice leads programmes and activities that seek to address the challenge of human trafficking. If it has unscheduled activities on human trafficking, the health and social development departments will be informed to render clinical, psychosocial and shelter services as per the Trafficking in Persons Act,” she explains.

One of the GBV support facilities in the province, Tshepong Thuthuzela Care Centre based at Bloemfontein’s National District Hospital, provides services to victims and survivors of rape, sexual violence and physical assault, among others.

The centre operates from 7am to 7pm throughout the week and offers counselling and psychosocial support.

The spokesperson for the provincial health department, Mondli Mvambi, says these services are replicated in all five districts of the province to ensure that victims and survivors of abuse can get help close to their homes.