Risk Management Staff Receive Training at Gender-Based Violence Workshops
The Advice Desk for the Abused, a non-profit organisation providing crisis intervention services for anyone experiencing either domestic or any other form or abuse, has been holding a series of training workshops for Risk Management Services (RMS) staff at UKZN to create awareness about Gender-Based Violence (GBV). This is part of the training that has been identified by the University as essential for RMS staff across all five campuses in order to equip them to respond to and manage cases involving GBV.
GBV is an aggressive act directed at a person because of their gender or sex.
Statistics show that in South Africa a woman is killed by her partner every eight hours.
The training programme, created by the Advice Desk for the Abused, is presented and delivered by a training team headed by Dr Sam Thomas, a Psychologist lecturing at Varsity College and a UKZN alumnus, and co-facilitated by Dr Lubna Nadvi, from the School of Social Sciences at UKZN.
Members of the Advice Desk Board and staff such as Professor Suria Govender, former UKZN academic; Ms Indira Vythilingam, Senior Crisis Interventionist; Ms Fikile Vilakazi, also a member of staff of SSS, UKZN and Ms Saras Moodley, Secretary of Board; have been an essential part of the team delivering the training. Logistical support for the training is provided by the Human Resources Division of UKZN. The programme focuses on key areas such as security procedures and how to respond and interact with GBV victims.
RMS staff take part in role playing scenarios that enable them to “see and understand” the abuse, by harnessing compassionate “security guards” that were able to listen to and make GBV victims feel safe, secure and protected enough to report the crimes.
Varsity College students have also been involved in the training process, as part of their community psychology module and helped the “security guards” to see the role they played in stopping the cycle of abuse.
In the sessions Thomas urges the “security guards” to be impartial concerning a victim’s gender when reporting crimes and to see victims as close family members they would do anything to help. ‘Never laugh at any victims reporting crimes but rather be sympathetic - your body language as “guards” must make them feel comfortable,’ she said.
The training helps to debunk myths around GBV and gives RMS staff the tools they need to respond to victims with respect, empathy, confidentiality and without judging them. ‘Never lay any blame, always explain the process and procedure to victims and always put their safety first,’ Thomas said.
The Advice Desk for the Abused deals with more than 3 000 cases a year and of those, 20% of the reported cases are from men.
The organisation raises funds through developing and facilitating GBV training and has five satellite offices around KwaZulu-Natal, with its head office being situated on UKZN’s Westville campus.
For help or advice call the organisation’s toll free number: 0800 204321; office : 031 262 5231 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Words: Hlengiwe Precious Khwela