Our counselling is designed to make you feel safe, supported, respected and able to make informed decisions – this is what we mean by empowerment and this is our goal for all the survivors we work with.

 All our counselling services are offered free of charge.



  • We provide face-to-face counselling with 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.
  • Support for a survivor through the process of reporting and prosecution: a Rape Crisis counsellor will act as 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. This is where the forensic examination and medical treatment of rape survivors take place.
  • We offer pre-trial consultation services to help prepare survivors for the rape trial. We also offer support at court throughout this experience.



Our approach at Rape Crisis is based on our ‘Principles of Empowerment’ model. We believe that, in order to recover, a rape survivor needs to feel safe and respected; she/he also needs ongoing support and information that allows her/him to make informed choices. Our counsellors bear witness to all the survivor’s experiences and are the survivor’s ally in everything she/he needs to confront along the path to recovery. Counsellors bring the extensive resources of the organisation together to help survivors achieve recovery. Read more about the principles of empowerment.

All survivors are given a copy of our booklet ‘You and Rape’, which specifically aims to offer sound advice in the initial phases of recovery and to encourage and support survivors who choose to go to trial.



Our Rape Crisis counsellors are all volunteer lay counsellors, recruited from within the surrounding communities and trained by the organisation in a rigorous and inspiring six-week process. Experienced staff in Athlone, Khayelitsha and Observatory lead counselling teams that offer our volunteer counsellors ongoing support, teaching, guidance and supervision.

All the information gathered from our counselling services form a firm evidence base for our advocacy, training and awareness raising work. We learn from every survivor we see.



Rape Crisis office hours are from 9.00 am to 4.30 pm Monday to Friday. We offer counselling to both men and women. Clients are requested to make their own appointments for counselling services. Please click on our Counselling Criteria link to access more information as to the restrictions in terms of who may be counselled at Rape Crisis if you are a professional service wanting to refer a client.



 Observatory: +27 (0)21 447 1467

 Counselling line: +27 (0)21 447 9762

 Athlone: +27 (0)21 684 1180

 Counselling line: +27 (0)21 633 9229

 Khayelitsha: +27 (0)21 361 9228

 Counselling line: +27 (0)21 361 9085


Our Counselling Coordinators from our three offices, left to right. Joyce Doni (Khayelitsha), Shiralee McDonald (Observatory) and Barbara Williams (Athlone).

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