Original Research

Experiences of healthcare staff in forensic care facilities supporting sexual violence survivors, in Tshwane, South Africa

Moreoagae B. Randa, Julie McGarry
Curationis | Vol 46, No 1 | a2374 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v46i1.2374 | © 2023 Moreoagae B. Randa, Julie McGarry | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 June 2022 | Published: 26 May 2023

About the author(s)

Moreoagae B. Randa, Department Nursing Science, Faculty of Health Care Science, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Pretoria, South Africa
Julie McGarry, Health Sciences School, University of Sheffield and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, United Kingdom

Abstract

Background: Sexual violence is a persisting global epidemic that is constantly increasing on a large scale. The rate of sexual violence in South Africa is one of the highest in the world; and it has been reported to appear socially normalised and acceptable.

Objectives: The study aimed to explore and describe the experiences of healthcare staff working in forensic care centres (FCCs) in Tshwane, South Africa.

Method: A qualitative approach was followed incorporating focus group interviews with a range of healthcare staff based in the two FCCs. Non-probability purposive sampling was done. Data analysis was informed by the Analytic Hierarchy Model which comprised of three steps: data management, descriptive accounts and developing explanatory accounts.

Results: Three main themes emerged as, (1) help them to do away with the idea of self-blame: everyday work; (2) barriers to the accessibility of care: seeking alternative traditional remedies (muti) from traditional healers and working in an unconducive environment and (3) compassionately sick at times: Emotional impact of forensic care work.

Conclusion: The findings revealed that the healthcare staff are often working in difficult circumstances and that both professional and societal factors mediate against the provision of care and support for survivors. Greater attention is needed both in terms of service development and wider challenges to pervading societal norms surrounding violence against women.

Contribution: The study highlighted the need for training, improved management support and debriefing sessions.


Keywords

forensic care; forensic care centre; healthcare staff; sexual violence; victims; survivors

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