Working with Children & their Families
Our vision is that children will not be abused anymore, but where they are being abused, we want to provide efficient and professional services that effectively promote their healing and stop any further abuse. This translates into a mission to minimize any secondary harm to children and their families upon their entering the child protection system.
Victim Support Services
The Teddy Bear Foundation’s Medico-legal Clinic is a specialised medical facility for children who have been abused or neglected and a training service for medical professionals working in the child protection field. It is based within the Charlotte Maxexe Academic Hospital, and is run by a multi-disciplinary team of Paediatricians, Doctors, Forensic nurses, Social Workers and volunteers.
Forensic assessments form the basis of court proceedings in convicting perpetrators of violence against children. They take the form of a structured process where the child is engaged through various techniques, by our most qualified Social Workers. The aim is to elicit information from the child victim regarding the details of an alleged crime, and then to verify these through collateral sources, such as witnesses and other people known to the victim.
This service was established specifically for children with cognitive disabilities for the purpose of providing them with fair access to the criminal justice system. In the context of sexual abuse cases, the psychological assessment that has to be conducted depends on the psychological questions posed by the court. In most cases, the psychological assessments are aimed at determining the victims’ mental age as opposed to their chronological age, their capacity to testify with regard to an alleged crime and the impact of the trauma on the victims. We have highly trained and experienced Psychologists conducting these assessments.
Therapeutic Counseling and Support
Child abuse causes trauma and emotional scars that can have a negative impact on a child’s development and result in long-term consequences. Every child who is a victim of abuse is provided with the opportunity to receive therapeutic counseling and support, which focuses on reducing tension and alleviating any fear and anxiety that the child may have, increasing self-acceptance and releasing the internal resources that will help the child to cope with the trauma. Supportive counseling is also provided to the caregivers of children who have been abused, as our experience has been that the better equipped the caregivers are to cope with the trauma, the better able they are to support the child through the process.
Court Preparation and Support
The Court Preparation and Support programme was established in June 1997. It focuses on providing children and parents with skills, emotional support and legal knowledge in preparation for their appearance in court. The programme is process-oriented in that it provides support for the children and their families from the moment they enter the programme, right through the often lengthy legal process, and thereafter with debriefing.
School awareness programme
In society today our children need skills and knowledge in order to protect and to keep them safe. This programme operates from a model of prevention, providing awareness talks that improve learners baseline knowledge of issues relating to child abuse and their rights and responsibilities. Included in the model is training for educators on how to manage cases of child abuse within the education system.
Support Programme for Abuse Reactive Children
SPARC is a diversion program that aims to empower low to medium risk child sexual offenders to understand the consequences of their behaviour and equip them with the skills and psychosocial resources to change it. By intervening with youth who exhibit sexually offensive or inappropriate behaviour as early as in childhood, the programme actively works towards breaking the cycle of abuse, by preventing these children from becoming career sexual offenders.
The Teddy Bear Foundation is one of the few organisations that has specialized in providing holistic services to children that have been abused, and we have been doing so since 1986. As such, we have developed a wealth of knowledge, resources and practical experience across various professions within the child protection field. In order to increase the reach of child abuse services across the country, we provide training on child abuse identification and management to: medical professionals and students, social workers, psychologists, prosecutors, magistrates, police, child and youth care workers and other service providers.