Helping sex crime survivors the greatest gift
Those who help survivors of sexual crimes gave people their lives back, ReflAct consultant Jack Koolen said at the Sexual Offences Indaba in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
"Helping people to recover from sexual crimes, the ability to help someone get their life back, is the greatest gift," he said.
As there was a relatively small proportion of men who committed sexual crimes, each successful conviction helped prevent further rapes.
Koolen said there was a need for greater visibility of Thuthuzela Care Centres (TCCs) and the work they were doing.
The indaba was hosted by the National Prosecuting Authority and managed by the Sexual Offences and Community Affairs (SOCA) Unit.
"You need to be successful and make more noise about your successes. I will celebrate the day you are all unemployed," he said to the surprise of the crowd.
Koolen explained that one "cannot win" against crime, "but trying anyway is true leadership".
He said they should persevere at eradicating sexual crimes.
Earlier, Peter Vaz and Virginia Francis of RTI International reported back on lessons learnt in the establishment of TCCs in South Africa.
Twenty-three TCCs were established in nine provinces, with 65 staff.
The TCCs had completed self assessments to identify areas which needed improvement, such as reviewed protocol training.
Public awareness campaigns were conducted throughout the year and brochures were translated into all official languages. Braille brochures were being developed for the blind.
Francis said survivor forums would be held to improve the service offered at TCCs, and acknowledged the progress they had already made.
"You give to people who come to you the freedom to respect themselves, thank you."
Justice Minister Jeff Radebe was scheduled to speak at the indaba, but was unable to attend due to a pressing engagement.