A safe space for abused chil­dren

Vuk'uzenzele - - General - More Mat­shediso

THE COM­MU­NITY of Langa is set to ben­e­fit from a ther­apy room for abused chil­dren.

The Western Cape Depart­ment of So­cial Devel­op­ment has been equipped with a new Child Play Ther­apy Room which as­sists chil­dren who are vic­tims of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

Sit­u­ated in Langa, the Child Play Ther­apy Room has a counselling area equipped with chil­dren’s toys, ed­u­ca­tional ma­te­rial and spe­cialised dolls.

It plays a crit­i­cal role in en­abling spe­cial­ist child pro­tec­tion so­cial work­ers to as­sist chil­dren who have been phys­i­cally, emo­tion­ally or sex­u­ally abused.

The fa­cil­ity cre­ates a safe space for chil­dren to ex­press them­selves when they have been abused and also en­ables them to re­port se­ri­ous crimes that they may have wit­nessed.

The Western Cape Depart­ment of So­cial Devel­op­ment Re­gional Di­rec­tor, So­raya Abra­hams, said in most cases young chil­dren do not know how to ar­tic­u­late what has been done to them af­ter ex­pe­ri­enc­ing abuse, so the Child Play Ther­apy Room al­lows the vic­timised chil­dren to demon­strate through the use of toys.

“Chil­dren are able to show a so­cial worker who did what to them, and the so­cial worker will take notes as they ob­serve the demon­stra­tion and in­ter­pret it to es­tab­lish what has hap­pened,” Abra­hams ex­plained.

She said the process can take a while as the so­cial worker has to gain the child's trust and make them com­fort­able to play in their pres­ence.

Al­though Abra­hams could not pro­vide statis­tics of how many chil­dren have so far ben­e­fited from the fa­cil­ity in the Langa of­fices, she said it has proved to be sig­nif­i­cant in also get­ting jus­tice for chil­dren be­cause cases have made it to court.

“A so­cial worker is given 90 days to present the case to the court, but they can ask for an ex­ten­sion if they need to gather more in­for­ma­tion from the child who has been vic­timised, be­cause same chil­dren are shy and it takes time for them to open up or play,” she ex­plained.

The fa­cil­ity cre­ates a safe space for chil­dren to ex­press them­selves.

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