Meet the AfriForum Trauma Support Unit

A vast majority of society have experienced traumatic incidents and survived. A pistol that did not go off during an attack, being the only survivor of a farm attack or escaping during a house robbery means the person is a trauma survivor.

For most of the trauma survivors the event may well be something of the past, but the upsetting thoughts, negative feelings, sleepless nights, nightmares and ongoing underlying anxiety remain a personal reality. This is where AfriForum’s Trauma Support Unit is providing a very unique and personal service to victims of violent crime.

The Trauma Support Unit was established in 2015 with the aim of assisting victims of violent crime. Currently, the unit has four staff members assisting victims: Johan Kloppers (Southern Region), Hennie Human (Central Region), Magda Coetzee (Northern Region) and Izel Kruger (Office and Project Coordinator).

The primary objective of the Trauma Support Unit is to offer emotional and practical support to victims as quickly as possible following a traumatic event in order to soften the impact of the trauma and to get the person functioning again as soon as possible. The unit also supports victims during the investigation process and court procedure and empowers them to lessen secondary trauma and victimisation during court cases. Victims are also assisted in writing or making affidavits and preparation prior to and during court cases.

The Trauma Support Unit identifies and refers victims to professional experts where therapeutic and specialised services are required. They also assist with defusing, whether individually or in group context.

The unit provides victims with information regarding the legal process in cases of sexual offences, including sexual offences against children and family violence.

For AfriForum’s Trauma Support Unit, priority cases include farm attacks, murder, attempted murder, sexual assault and rape, housebreaking and car theft and hijacking.

The Trauma Support Unit is activated by AfriForum’s control room, where attacks are reported and passed on to the unit if the victims require emotional support.

Every case is unique, and the unit’s involvement with victims varies from a month to three or four years. This service is offered to the community and not only to members of AfriForum.

For any enquiries about the AfriForum Trauma Support Unit or if someone wants to make use of the unit, please contact the unit by dialling 012 880 1954 or the emergency number 064 870 8312 or sending an email to trauma@afriforum.co.za.

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