The Trauma Centre


1. Programme: Family Well-Being

- Project 1:  Building Resilient Families

If the fight against violence in society is to be won, it has to earmark the family as an important role player. This project works toward reconstructing healthy families in communities where gang violence, domestic abuse and sexual offences have eroded the ability of the family members to work together as a close unit.
Service rendered: Awareness Raising Campaigns; Capacity Building Workshops; Individual Counselling for Men and Boys; Group Support; Family Group Counselling.

- Project 2: Youth and Violence

The link between substance abuse and sexual violence particularly amongst the youth is well documented. Schools report an increase in deviant sexual behaviour from both primary and high school learners. This project is aimed at preventative and awareness raising in schools particularly from a legislative perspective.

Services rendered: Awareness raising campaigns focusing of sexual violence and its links to substance abuse and gang violence.

Project 3: Gender-based violence

People living on farms face unacceptably high levels of economic exploitation coupled to the violations of their labour and social rights. Gender-based violence particularly toward women places these farm workers and dwellers at an even greater disadvantage. Through the project women and girls on farms on the West Coast and the Mitzikamma are provided with mental health services to address the challenges they base at home and in the farming community.

Services rendered: Awareness Raising Campaigns; Individual, Group and Family Support; Parenting Skills.

- Project 4: Victim empowerment for Children

Socio-economically vulnerable communities face increasing high levels of violent behaviour from learners at risk. This project seeks to support learners in making informed choices about their safety and well-being in stances of learner on learner violence, gang initiation, bullying and other forms of aggressive behaviour. Learners from 23 schools in the Elsies River community are recipients of this project.

Services rendered: Referral service for schools, individual and group counselling, family counseling.

2. Programme: Community Healing

- Project 1: Refugee & Assylum Seekers
According to the UNHCR, by the end of 2009, nearly 43,3 million people worldwide found themselves forcibly displaced from their homes. In the same year, more than 922,000 individuals applied for asylum or refugee status. Despite the 2008 xenophobic violence, South Africa received the highest amount of applications, mostly of African descent.

As thousands of immigrants cross the border into South Africa, The Trauma Centre has since its inception, offered psycho-social interventions to immigrants affected by violence and torture regardless of their legal status or country of birth. In partnership with the UNHCR, refugee centres, legal aid centres and other non-governmental organisations, The Trauma Centre plays its role in address the needs of immigrants by providing psycho social assessments and counselling. Of equal importance is the need for educational programmes geared towards combating xenophobia and encouraging social integration.
Services rendered: Workshops for migrant and South Africans on integration and building social cohesion, Educational programmes for school-going youth, group support, individual counseling.

- Project 2: Community Rehabilitation
South Africa remains a nation healing from the wounds of the past. One of the final recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was for the establishment of community rehabilitation centres to deal with years of trauma as a result of political violence in South Africa. Beneficiaries of this project are political activists and leaders, former combatants of the liberation movements and returnees after years in exile. The project also focuses on torture and gross human rights violations including police brutality. Amongst survivors of torture are documented and undocumented immigrants who experienced torture in their countries of birth. Often, these beneficiaries experience multiple traumas as the torture continues during their journey to South Africa.

Services rendered: Awareness raising campaigns, training on torture, Individual counselling, group support to survivors of torture and gross human rights violations

- Project 2: Community Leadership

Under the strain of poverty, unemployment and crime, social cohesion in vulnerable communities is threatened. Community leaders are expected to be the super heroes, unaffected by the exceptionally high levels of trauma faced by community members. Who takes care of them?  While the Community Leadership Project's main objective seeks to equip community leaders with conflict-sensitive approaches to breaking cycles of violence operative within their communities. Through community leadership group support and training programmes on community healing, the Project aims to nurture community-based wellness.

Services rendered: networking platforms, training, workshops, individual counselling, group support

3. Programme: Trauma Response

- Project 1: Institutional Support

Daily exposure to crisis and trauma can have a detrimental effect on frontline workers if opportunities to talk about their experiences and its impact on their lives are not provided by employers. Fire personnel, emergency staff, police, people working in the medical profession, social workers, educators and community workers are prone to vicarious and secondary trauma as a result of exposure to violence and trauma.

This project creates opportunities for frontline workers to engage in a safe environment with the emotional difficulties that arises as a result of their ongoing exposure to traumatic incidents. Group support and debriefing sessions are facilitated by a registered counsellor. Confidentiality is a fundamental principle to which the group and the counsellor has to adhere to. Individual counselling is offered to those who prefer one to one encounters or who require in addition to group debriefing a private session with the counsellor.

Services rendered: Awareness raising campaigns, group support and debriefing, telephonic counselling, individual counseling.

- Project 2: Trauma Response

When a traumatic incident occurs, the person affected is in a state of shock and is not prepared for counselling. Incidents which Trauma Counsellors would respond to include armed assaults, hi-jacking, murder, gang violence, marches or service delivery protest that become violent, train accidents, fires or floods. The immediate support offered by Trauma Counsellors is containment to ensure that the person has support. Containment focuses on the immediate needs of the person.

Services rendered: Trauma response to call outs, containment, training and supporting trauma support officers, group support, individual counseling.

- Project 3: Trauma Counselling

Days or weeks after a tragedy or traumatic incident, the individuals will require trauma counselling to work through the difficulties they are experiencing. A six-week counselling cycle facilitated by qualified and registered counsellors is offered to persons affected by violence and torture. Normally people make telephonic contact with The Trauma Centre or they are referred by doctors, organisations, family relatives, educators or the media.

Service rendered: Awareness raising campaigns, individual and group counselling, referral

- Project 4: Learning Centre

A range of learning programmes is offered through the Learning Centre which provides an e-learning platform as well as workplace learning opportunities for people wanting to increase their knowledge about mental health issues. A series of E-learning information pamphlets focusing on solution-focused support those affected by violence and gross human rights atrocities.

Services rendered: Capacity building, training

human and civil rights


  1. Hope Christie

    27 September 2016

1 Donation