Local newsNews

Curamus Trauma Room at Secunda Police Station aids victims of trauma and abuse

There is a place to seek help when you are a victim of trauma.

Although familiar to some, many might not be aware of the local trauma room in Secunda with qualified and registered volunteers who assist children, women and, yes, men as well, who are victims of GBV or crime/trauma-related instances.

Curamus has been running on a volunteer basis for several years.

Years back the Curamus Trauma Room, Victim Support Centre, was opened at the local police station, but for unknown reasons, the facility had reached a dead end.

With the high demand and need for such a facility, volunteers, together with Secunda Police, have restored the trauma room and it is again up and running.

The Curamus Trauma Room, Victims Support Cenre is situated at the Secunda Police Station.

“When we returned to the facility there was very little we could work with.

“With donations and collections, we have made this facility what it is today,” said Riana Pelser, chairperson for Curamus.

Situated at the police station, one would think of the trauma room as having a prison cell type feel, however, the trauma room has a warm welcoming, relaxed and safe feel the moment one enters.

Getting the trauma room running again had seen its fair share of headaches.

“We had a victim and her baby who had nowhere to go late last year. The trauma room was opened for her where she spent the night.

Curamus Trauma Room, Victim’s Support Centre has a warm welcoming, relaxed and safe feel for victims of crime and trauma.

However, throughout the night she cleaned us out. The microwave, cups, baby clothes, nappies, you name it, she stole it,” said Pelser

Pelser said the woman had also left the facility in a disgusting state with urinated buckets left in cupboards and blankets covered in faeces.

“We did not let this get us down. We had to start all over again. Our goal is for people and children to feel safe.”

The trauma room has space where children can play while volunteers and police work closely with victims.

“In many cases, victims do not want to open a case. Here we sit them down and explain what will happen next and what steps can be taken.

“We assist with child and family services and social workers and help victims through the whole process. We walk the same road with them all the way and do regular follow-ups.”

The trauma room is not an overnight stay facility, however, volunteers stay with victims until a place of safety is found for them.

Curamus Trauma Room is the first, safe step a victim of domestic violence can take.

“There is a high increase in cases of domestic violence and child abuse, even more so since Covid-19,” said Pelser.

In most cases, she talks of narcissists who isolate their partners by not allowing them to work or leave the house or have friends or contact with relatives.

“For the victims, they see their situation as not being able to leave, because they have no one to turn to and nowhere to go.

“The victims always ask where do they go? They feel helpless and continue to stay in these conditions because they have been cut off from their family and friends,” explained Pelser.

Curamus is calling out to all victims to say: “There is help, you are not alone. We can help you and there is a way out.”

Mothers or fathers who are victims of domestic violence always fear losing their children.

“Our goal is keeping family together,” said Pelser

Volunteers at the trauma room deal with a lot of rape victims.

“Victims have this misconception that when they come to the station they are going to be interrogated in a small cold room.

“It is not at all how it works. We take you into our trauma room, sit you down, speak to you and help you calm down and take you through the whole process of what you can expect.

“Once you feel safe and settled, then only will police be brought in to take your statement,” said Pelser.

The Curamus Trauma Room, Victims Support Centre accommodates all victims of trauma and crime. An area has been allocated for babies, toddlers and also parents while investigation processes take place.

She explained that the victim will need to give a statement and in some situations, Curamus volunteers will accompany the victim to a hospital where further tests will be done.

Victims are given care packs that contain clean underwear, sanitary products and other items. A rape kit is also given to the victim which is taken with them to the hospital when accompanied by police.

“We handle any situation and if we are unable to, there is also help beyond us,” said Pelser when referring to victims needing psychological or mental help.

Curamus has seven permanent volunteers. Becoming a volunteer has a strict screening process.

The trauma room is kitted out with a comfortable seating area, a sleeper couch, a cot, children’s toys, a kettle and crockery for tea and coffee.

There is a calling for any donations of the following to make up care packages:

All sizes panties, tracksuits or comfortable clothes that victims of rape can change into (the victim’s original clothes go in for evidence), toothpaste, toothbrushes, roll-on and deodorant, children’s colouring books and crayons, and small toys or small stuffed animals.

An example of care packages that are made up for victims of crime. This package is for toddlers and consists of a colouring book, teddy bear and crayons.

The trauma room also needs medical supplies such as gauze, plasters, bandages and ointment to use to doctor any wounds.

There is a TV, however, a DVD player and kiddie movies to accompany it will be much appreciated. This is ideal to keep children occupied when parents are busy with police and volunteers.

Sponsors are also needed for the seven volunteers’ uniforms such as winter jackets and long sleeve shirts with the branding of Curamus on it.

Any financial aid is also welcomed as Curamus is an NPO and strictly based on volunteers and donations.

For more information, contact Riana Pelser on 084 499 9621 or Chantelle Prinsloo on 082 926 0033 or Capt Newstar Twala on 082 404 7955.

Related Articles

Back to top button