Crime scene clean-up: Not for the faint-hearted

The following is an excerpt from an article first published in the March 2014 (Vol. 107, Issue 3) edition of Servamus by Katie Geldenhuys:

Roelien Schutte and Eileen de Jager from Crime Scene Clean-up

A crime scene can be a messy place. When someone has been killed, blood and other body fluids are spilled all over the scene. Once police investigators have completed their investigations at a crime scene, it is no longer the police’s responsibility, and the result is that the grieving family members are left with a bloody, messy room to be cleaned.

It is the responsibility of the victim’s family to remove the bloody evidence of a violent death. For many people, the trauma of cleaning up their loved one’s blood intensifies their loss. Fortunately, there are people, such as Roelien Schutte and Eileen de Jager from Crime Scene Clean-up, who are skilled in cleaning up a violent death scene.

SERVAMUS spoke to these two sisters, whose business is to ease the pain of those who have lost a loved one through a violent death. Roelien says that they started their business in South Africa in October 2000 after they had an opportunity of cleaning crime scenes in the UK when they were much younger. To them, it is not just a job – it is their passion and calling in life. Although they work nationally, they realised at one stage that they cannot do this on their own. Therefore, they established franchises nationwide and today, there are 16 franchises across the country. Roelien added that those who buy in are just as passionate about the work as they are.

What is cleaned?

In South Africa, unlike in the USA and the UK, it is not a legal requirement to have crime scenes cleaned professionally. However, people do not know how important it is to clean every centimetre of a scene. If it is not done properly, people who spend time in that scene can get very sick (see infra).

Roelien and Eileen explain that they clean up at every type of crime scene where body fluids are involved. These include:

  • Suicide scenes;
  • murder scenes;
  • armed robbery scenes;
  • vehicle hijackings; and
  • hoarding scenes.

The SAPS refers families who are suffering from the trauma of a violent death to Crime Scene Clean-up to assist them. Eileen told SERVAMUS that some insurance companies also use their services following burglary/accident or murder incidents.

Click here to read the full article.

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