Supporting crime victims

Volunteer Khouthar Wang, left, with Sergeant Zita Norman.

Athlone police station needs volunteers to provide counselling in the victim support room.

The room, which was established more than 10 years ago, sees about 10 to 15 people daily.

Athlone police spokesman Ser-
geantZitaNormansaidmany peopledependedonthesupport room after they became victims of crime.

Volunteers should be older than 22, display empathy and have a passion to help people, she said.

“The person must provide a counselling service and will then refer the victim to a psychologist or to other departments if need be.”

At the moment, the station has four counsellors but this is not enough.

“It must be a reliable, trustworthy, honest person who is willing to work on weekends and treat it confidentially,” she said.

Training for the successful candidates will be provided and they will also attend courses on how to stabilise a victim of crime.

The counsellors work shifts during the week and on weekends. The victim support room is open from 7.30am to 4pm, daily.

Sergeant Norman said they helped victims of drug abuse, sexual abuse, as well as older people who were neglected or abused.

“We want to sway them from falling into the cycle of substance and alcohol abuse,” said Sergeant Norman.

She said the station wanted to recruit volunteers from different religions as some people preferred to speak to someone of their own faith.

“We want to respect people’s culture and religion, and we want them to be comfortable with the person that they are speaking to. We will also screen them for a criminal record,” she said.

Anyone interested can call the sector commander Constable Ismail Salie at 082 469 8494 or Warrant Officer Ashley Fritz at 082 469 1877.