The DNA Project is very pleased and fortunate to be a beneficiary of Blow the Whistle and thanks to their amazing and generous contribution of funds raised through the sale of their whistles, Vanessa has chosen to donate a portion of this year’s proceeds to help support the establishment and equipping of a new rape crisis centre in Howick, KZN.
The Angels’ Care Rape Crisis Centre, which is currently under construction, is being spearheaded by one of our Directors, Carolyn Hancock, and aims to assist child victims of sexual abuse from informal settlements around the uMngeni municipal area.
The Crisis Centre will provide access to all the necessary social, medical and legal services to ensure that a child not only receives care and timely assistance in a single location, but through medical and psycho-social healing, it will restore dignity to these children and provide a mechanism whereby a case can be followed through to the point where the perpetrator is more likely to be identified and ultimately convicted.
Carolyn explains that although there are many reasons that child rape incidents go unreported, one of the primary reasons is the fact that many survivors, particularly children, lack access to services and support. In the cases where children do have access, a proper statement is often not obtained from the victim, and crucial evidence is not collected timeously. As a result of this, possible convictions of child rapists often fall through leading to the crime going unpunished; which is where the Crisis Centre will step in to help.
In addition to providing much needed equipment, The DNA Project will also run a track and trace programme which will monitor the progress of each case received from date of collection of the DNA evidence to its presentation in court; the purpose of which will be to ensure that evidence collected results in convictions, and if not, to identify problem areas as to why cases do not make it to court.
Hand-in-hand with this project is a research project which will look into more effective DNA evidence collection methods in relation to children, which historically have a very low yield rate.
The building, which will likely be completed this week (1 April), will consist of a reception area, a consulting room for the SAPS/NPA, a consulting room for the social worker/counsellor, a medical examination room, bathroom facilities and even a bedroom where the children may rest if needed.
The Angels’ Care Centre itself is only situated a few metres away from a government clinic and directly opposite the Howick SAPS Station and works closely with the SAPS, Department of Health, Department of Social Development and the Department of Justice/NPA.
The Crisis Centre is aiming to officially open its doors on 1 July of this year.
We wish to extend a very big thank you to everyone who has supported the Blow the Whistle campaign this year and for helping to aid us in supporting this inspiring initiative.