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A safe space for abused children

More Matshediso
The community of Langa is set to benefit from a therapy room for abused children.

The Western Cape Department of Social Development has been equipped with a new Child Play Therapy Room which  assists children who are victims of domestic violence.

Situated in Langa, the Child Play Therapy Room has a counselling area equipped with children’s toys, educational material and specialised dolls.

It plays a critical role in enabling specialist child protection social workers to assist children who have been physically, emotionally or sexually abused.

The facility creates a safe space for children to express themselves when they have been abused and also enables them to report serious crimes that they may have witnessed.

The Western Cape Department of Social Development Regional Director, Soraya Abrahams, said in most cases young children do not know how to articulate what has been done to them after experiencing abuse, so the Child Play Therapy Room allows the victimised children to demonstrate through the use of toys.

“Children are able to show a social worker who did what to them, and the social worker will take notes as they observe the demonstration and interpret it to establish what has happened,” Abrahams explained.

She said the process can take a while as the social worker has to gain the child's trust and make them comfortable to play in their presence.

Although Abrahams could not provide statistics of how many children have so far benefited from the facility in the Langa offices, she said it has proved to be significant in also getting justice for children because cases have made it to court.

“A social worker is given 90 days to present the case to the court, but they can ask for an extension if they need to gather more information from the child who has been victimised, because same children are shy and it takes time for them to open up or play,” she explained.

If you are living in the Western Cape and you need the services of a social worker you can contact the provincial Department of Social Development hotline on 0800 220 250.