About 50 women and their children go to Salvation Army Carehaven for comfort and safety after experiencing abuse or trauma, but continuous break-ins at the organisation could threaten its existence.
Social auxiliary worker, Charlene Davids, said robbers targeted the Carehaven twice on Monday April 9, at 5am and again at 8pm. They again broke in on Wednesday April 11 at 11.40am.
The robbers stole Vibracrete slabs, phone cables, security system cables, security cameras and alarm systems. They also damaged the security fencing.
Ms Davids said they had contacted the police but no one had arrived. She said the recent break-ins came as no shock as the place had been broken into weekly since the beginning of the year and break-ins had occurred over the last five years as well.
The Carehaven has been in existence since 1976 and offers a place of trauma counselling and refuge for abused women and their children. Their support and empowerment programme carries a holistic approach which is aimed at healing the women and providing them with effective ways of coping with future problems.
The organisation takes about R133 000 to run a month, and with the continuous break-ins, the repairs and replacements have added a significant amount to that.
In September last year robbers cleared out the creche on the premises when they stole food, a television, fans, educational equipment, blankets, walking rings, heaters, and prams.
Ms Davids explained the break-ins cause secondary trauma to the women and children who have already experienced a vast amount of trauma before they came to the centre. “These guys are traumatising our women and the community at large. They have previously robbed them on their way from work. They are being traumatised all over again. The teachers were scared to go back to their classes and this also disrupts the children as they feel unsettled and unsafe,” she said.
Ms Davids said what the centre needs is active police presence. “We have employed a security guard at night but that costs us R500 a night. At the end of the day the security company’s retract their staff because they say it is too dangerous. We need the community to speak up if they see or hear anything,” she said.
She also urged the community not to buy stolen goods as this gives the robbers more motivation to continuously break in. She said that the centre is also in need of donations in any form. “We rely on donations from the community. Anything from baby food, nappies, clothing, and furniture would really help,” she said