“There is nothing more isolating than the pain of violation. It forces victims to question themselves and their world because it destroys two essential beliefs: Their sense of trust and their sense of control over their lives”
–The crime victims book, Bard and Sangrey, 1986
Each person has a different understanding and perspective of trauma. Some people have personal experiences that are traumatic in nature, whilst others have been exposed to trauma stories through the media, hearsay and their work environment. A larger component of trauma experiences in South Africa are rooted in violence. South African history has a context of violent behaviour and has been fraught with stories of human brutality and violent behaviour. Regardless of the type of violence perpetuated, the rate has always been high in comparison with the rest of the world. Over time this accumulation of trauma year on year, not only affects the personal lives of South Africans but our Society as a whole -We become more aggressive, domestic violence increases, suicide is more prevalent, alcohol and drug abuse rises, we become mistrustful of our neighbours and our fellow South Africans.
Yet, with such high levels of violent crime, we face a secondary challenge – the support provided to victims of violence and trauma incidents.
According to the White paper on safety and security(2008) there is a substantial need to “Improve the quality of service delivery to victims of crime” and that “victimization constitutes a violation of human rights.”
The reality is that the services provided to victims is not always of an acceptable standard, leading to secondary victimization. it is therefore essential that victims are educated about their rights and acceptable service standards, know where to access effective and efficient support and are themselves empowered.
This website aims to raise awareness about the different types of trauma a victim may experience, what processes are followed in the criminal justice system and where they can access help.