Nov 2018 2nd Edition

TCC a safe haven after trauma

The trauma of abuse is something that no woman should have to endure. Thuthuzela centres are there to walk the painful journey of healing with survivors of abuse.

The services offered at a Thuthuzela Care Centre (TCC) are central to caring for people who have experience trauma due to sexual violence.

Most TCCs operate at public hospitals, clinics, or police stations and are close to communities where incidences of rape are particularly high. They are also linked to Sexual Offences Courts.

TCCs are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and a rape case can be reported directly at a TCC.

When a victim walks into a TCC they receive immediate medical attention, which includes a medical examination, counselling, medication to prevent HIV and pregnancy.

There are 57 TCCs across South Africa that provide specialised services and support to the survivors of sexual violence, and help them to find justice in court.

The TCCs also offer a child-friendly environment from the start - from the crime-reporting stage all the way to follow-up victim support services.

The centres are a critical tool in government’s integrated strategy to combat sexual violence. The centres link police stations with clinics and hospitals and the offences courts.

But the centres’ most important role is to support victims. The philosophy is respect, comfort, restoring dignity and ensuring justice for children and women who are victims of sexual violence.

Trained counsellors are with the victim  throughout at the police station and in the ambulance. At the TCC, they are met by a social worker who explains the next steps. These are a visit to the doctor, a shower and a change of clothes, and a statement to a trained special victims police officer.

While the victim is giving a statement, the doctor prescribes and dispenses medication – including emergency contraceptives and anti-retrovirals – and sets up an appointment for a return visit. Once the process is complete, the counsellor takes the victim home, or to a place of safety.  

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