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Shortage of Child Counsellors

Categories: ALL THE NEWS , Health, Social & Community
Hope House Counselling Centre has stressed the need for more qualified child counsellors to address issues of child trauma and abuse.

In the wake of 66 child murders recorded this year in the Western Cape alone as well as a six-month delay in child abuse intervention, Hope House Counselling Centre has stressed the need for more qualified child counsellors to address issues of child trauma and abuse.

“Trauma and violence are an all too common occurrence in South Africa, whether it’s armed robberies, domestic abuse or divorce. Sadly, children are often caught in the crossfire,” says Judy Strickland, the founder of non-profit organisation Hope House. “There is a dire shortage of volunteer child counsellors - we currently have a waiting list of 48 children across our three centres who are in need of professional help."

Childhood is a critical developmental period and children are extremely vulnerable to harmful influences around them. With over 13 years of counselling experience, Strickland emphasises the importance of trauma resolution at a young age. The fallout of exposure to violence, abuse, loss and drug use can include impaired educational development, high levels of school drop-out rates, an increase in violence at a later age and a greater risk of developing mental disorders such as anxiety and depression.

National Children’s Day highlights the need to protect children’s rights and look after their physical and mental wellbeing. "We have a responsibility to ensure the safety of our children. Counselling enables them to voice their trauma and overcome any obstacles they may experience. Early childhood intervention will help break the cycle of abuse – a damaged child all too often becomes the adult perpetrator," says Strickland.  

Hope House Counselling Centre has been offering donation-based counselling services to the Cape Town community for 13 years. Through three centres in Bergvliet, Kuilsrivier and Table View as well as in schools across the city, Hope House’s counsellors see people from as young as three years of age. In order to meet the needs of the communities they serve, they need volunteer assistance from child counsellors. For more information contact Hope House on 081 500 3054 or visit www.hopehouse.org.za.

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