Use your senses to gather information at a crime scene

MORNINGSIDE – Mad Domestic Watch educates domestic workers on crime prevention skills.


Penny Steyn, founder of Making a Difference (Mad) Domestic Watch, held one of her workshops at the Sandton Police Station on 19 June.

The workshops educate domestic workers about crime prevention within the home environment and how to become informers without being implicated. They are held once a month, for 11 months of the year, at different community halls and communal gathering spots. The topic of this workshop was The ideal witness – working with detectives.

Steyn started by explaining what a detective was, the role of the detective and how witnesses could assist detectives in locking up criminals. “Often times, domestic workers are witnesses to a crime and sometimes they do not know how to pass on the information to the detectives, mostly because they are still traumatised,” said Steyn.

Domestic workers, Rebecca Senyatsi and Victoria Bike with self-defence instructor, Edmund Bailey at the Mad Domestic Watch workshop at the Sandton Police Station. Photo: Itumeleng Komana

She added that any person who had been a victim or a witness to a crime, did not have to give a statement to the police immediately if they were too traumatised. However, this made it even more important to share information immediately after the event or write it down. “Missing details can allow the criminal to get away with the crime.”

Steyn added humour to the lesson and allowed the domestic workers to ask questions when they needed clarity and she also gave examples of personal experiences to get her point across.

Edith Mathebula and Lydia Setlhare are joined by their little ones, Maria Setlhare and Kgomagano Menoe to learn more about crime prevention. Photo: Itumeleng Komana

One worker, Lydia Sethlare asked how domestic workers could use their senses to gather as much information as they could during a crime.

“One glance is enough,” answered Steyn. “I always advise that you do not need to stare. Just give a glance and try to remember what you smelt, what you felt and what you heard.”

Edmund Bailey, a self-defence instructor also demonstrated how to use some house objects such as a lock as a weapon against the criminal. “It is also important that you have pepper sprays because they might save your lives,” Bailey advised.

Edmond Bailey, a self-defence instructor demonstrates how to use household items to protect oneself from harm. Photo: Itumeleng Komana

For more information on Mad Domestic Watch, contact Penny Steyn at; 082 461 6968 or 011 783 8776.

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