Child rape survivors ‘left without counselling’ in SA

Yolanda Hanning, a MSF psychologist working in North West Province, said, “76% of facilities do not offer counselling services around the clock; whereas 39% of facilities say they provide no risk assessment for suicide. This reality of erratic and unavailable services turns accessing mental health care into a lottery for survivors of sexual violence, which can potentially lead to survivors taking their own lives.”

According to the report, “This is an extremely serious limitation of current services, particularly given the relatively high frequency of serious mental health consequences of sexual violence.”

Some of the other concerning statistics are: 20% do not provide trauma counselling for victims of acute violence; 4% provided no mental health services at all; 62% did not have a child-friendly space. Only 13% had social care groups for victims of sexual violence. Only 17% had a health care provider on call 24 hours per day, seven days a week, to provide mental health counselling.

More than half indicated that there are no mental health services for victims of intimate partner violence. The report states that “sexual violence in an intimate partner relationship, especially in transactional (“blesser-blessee”) relationships, are missed and patients are not given support and care. In addition, many survivors of sexual violence do not immediately disclose the incident. It is also of concern that someone experiencing intimate partner violence in the absence of sexual violence does not receive counselling”.

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