R6m for N Cape Victim Empowerment Programme

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pretoria - The Northern Cape Social Development Department has allocated R6.9 million to the provincial Victim Empowerment Programme for the 2012/13 financial year.

Presenting the department's Budget Vote on Tuesday, Social Development MEC Alvin Botes announced that the department will this year roll out the Court Support Programme in Namakwa, as the last outstanding district for this service, to cover the whole province.

Botes said sexual crimes and child abuse remained a priority concern that deserved the attention not only of government, but also other sectors of society.

"The department plays an important role in the post traumatic interventions and psycho-social support services aimed at lessening the long-term impact of crime by tending to the needs of victims.

"We will intensify our efforts to provide and facilitate access to suitable, supportive services for victims of abuse and violence because of their particular vulnerability and specialised needs, especially those services rendered through the four Victim Empowerment Centres and Court Support Programme funded by the department," Botes said.

In addressing the abuse of alcohol and illicit drugs in the province, Botes announced that a provincial Integrated Substance Abuse Prevention Strategy would be launched next month.

The strategy would be launched on 26 June (Freedom Charter Day) as part of Youth Month celebrations and would coincide with the observance of the UN International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

The "KeMoja - I'm fine without drugs" project will be implemented in 132 high schools in the province in conjunction with the Department of Education.

Botes said the Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) Prevention Project, in partnership with the Foundation for Alcohol Related Research (FARR), was gaining momentum, with the final research findings of this intervention indicating that there had been a 30% decrease in the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) rate in De Aar.

"For the past three years, the main focus has been to assist pregnant women in De Aar to have healthy, substance abuse-free pregnancies so as to ensure that they give birth to healthier and FAS-free babies.

"Having established the FAS prevalence rate in Upington, we can announce that the department has indeed contracted FARR to establish the prevalence rates for Galeshewe and Roodepan. Work has already commenced in that regard," Botes said.

Botes announced that Kumba Iron Ore had also made a commitment to support the project in the province and the department was following up on the commitment so as to guide the work of FARR in the province.

"FAS is the only disability that is 100 percent preventable through the responsible behaviour of mothers to abstain from alcohol during pregnancy since there are no safe alcohol limits established during pregnancy.

"While our focus is on pro-active preventative interventions, the department is aware of its responsibility towards people who are already caught in the vicious cycle of substance abuse and therefore continues to prioritise rehabilitation, treatment and care programmes and interventions."