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Client experience of rape victims accessing governmental post-rape services in South Africa

Date added: March 8, 2017

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This study aims to better understand the experiences of rape victims accessing governmental post-rape services in South Africa. It was part of a larger intervention to develop an e-governance mobile phone ratings app for reporting user satisfaction with post-rape services, which aimed to improve accountability and responsiveness.

To understand rape victims’ views about the quality of post-rape services, this cross-sectional study was conducted at one Thuthuzela Care Centre and three Rape Crisis Centres in Tshwane district. Three focus group discussions brought together adult female rape victims to discuss their experiences as service users.

Participants highlighted positive, negative and often mixed experiences in accessing post-rape services. Entry to centres was often delayed due to low levels of awareness, indirect referrals and delays at police stations. Positive experiences were characterised as welcoming, friendly, empathetic and non-judgemental. Negative experiences were characterised as threatening, blaming, physiologically taxing and lacking in empathy. Inadequate follow-up, delays in progress of cases, and poor communication and quality of information contributed to dissatisfaction with services.

While voicing their lived experiences of post-rape service delivery, participants highlighted gaps and proposed constructive recommendations. They also declared a strong willingness to participate in the e-governance rating app as a tool to improve services for future victims.

The findings of the study were used to inform the design and content of the app, as well as its technology platform and the content of marketing material. These contributed to its successful piloting and use at the four centres.

Key themes in this paper:

  • Using mHealth interventions for reporting user views of service quality
  • Drivers of satisfaction and dissatisfaction with post-rape service delivery
  • Anonymity and e-governance service ratings apps.

 

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