Rape Crisis has a vision of a South African criminal justice system that supports and empowers rape survivors in all of its interventions. Until such time as this vision becomes a reality we provide that support and empowerment. We believe that the rape survivor is the key to a successful conviction and that her empowerment is based on safety, respect, support and the ability to make informed choices as she embarks on this difficult and challenging journey.
Our mission is to act as a bridge between rape survivors and the system so that:
- more survivors report rape,
- the number of rape incidents decrease,
- survivors experience reduced secondary trauma within the system and
- the conviction rate of rapists increases thus providing a deterrent to rape.
Our work would not be complete without also acting as bridge between the rape survivor and the community in order to reduce the stigma of rape, to challenge myths and stereotypes about rape and to increase the support available to survivors.
We aim to achieve our mission through coordinated action between our three main programmes: (1) counselling, crisis containment and court support directly to survivors, (2) training and awareness programmes to civil society organisations, government partners and community groups and (3) advocating for law reform with partners in the sector.
Counselling and Support Services
- Rape Crisis offers face-to-face counselling by experienced counsellors at three centres in Cape Town (Athlone, Observatory and Khayelitsha)
- We also provide counselling for family members, partners, spouses or friends of the survivor
- We offer a 24-hour crisis line and speak to survivors in English, Afrikaans or Xhosa over the telephone
- We offer ongoing social support in the form of support groups for survivors
- To support a survivor through the process of reporting and prosecution, a Rape Crisis counsellor will act as a liaison with various people in the criminal justice system, such as police, medical personnel and prosecutors
- We offer 24 hour crisis containment at Thuthuzela Care Centres, which are one stop rape care centres based at regional hospitals where the forensic examination and treatment of rape survivors takes place
- Rape Crisis offers a pre trial consultation service to help prepare survivors for the rape trial
- We offer support at court throughout this experience
All of these services are offered free of charge
Training and Awareness Programmes
- Rape Crisis offers awareness raising talks and workshops to community groups, other NGOs, criminal justice system officials, church groups and schools
- We offer customised training courses to NGOs offering services to rape survivors as part of their offering and to criminal justice system
- Our peer education project trains selected high school learners to offer support and raise awareness about rape in their schools
- Our SafeSpace Corporate Training and Consultation Service offers a package of services to the corporate and private sector
Some of these services are offered free of charge while others are offered at a fee on a sliding scale
Working for Change
- Rape Crisis has strong relationships with more that 60 networking partners across South Africa and abroad and are members of several national and provincial working groups including the National Working Group on Sexual Offences and the Provincial Victim Empowerment Programme (VEP) Task Team
- We also participate as active members in several ongoing campaigns including the Shukumisa Campaign to improve infrastructure available for prosecuting sexual offences and the Road to Justice Campaign to persuade government to enact Victim Empowerment Legislation that will improve services and access to justice for all victims of violent crime
- Our advocacy is based on research and we are in the process of building a computerised research database to capture vital information about the nature of rape in South Africa and about survivors’ experiences of the criminal justice system
- The Birds and Bees youth camp takes place at the end of the year bringing together high school learners that participated in our peer education project during the year
- The SpeakOut project offer support and presents opportunities to rape survivors that wish to speak publicly about their experiences either to the media, to researchers, as guest speakers at functions and events or on other public platforms
- Our Virtual Tour of The Criminal Justice System is an online guide to victims of violent crimes showing in virtual 360 degree photography and in video clips how a case proceeds from police station, to health facility, to court, to counselling service and what the all steps are along the way
- The Stop the Bus campaign takes a crew of volunteers on a tour of small towns and rural farms in the Western Cape during the 16 Days of No Violence Against Women and Children offering a mobile awareness raising and counselling service.