n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Community involvement and victim empowerment

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Every year numerous people become victims of crime. Whatever the crime, a large number of these people will need information, support and practical assistance. Although not all South Africans are equally exposed to danger, most South Africans fear crime (Myerson 1995:79) and people tend to react to crime differently whether being a direct victim of crime or not. Gates and Rohe (1987:441) are of the opinion that collective reactions to crime and good community relations, as well as good social control, can play an important role in victim support. There are a growing number of initiatives to empower victims of crime, both at a national and provincial level. By developing different partnerships between government, non-governmental organisations and private enterprises a diversity of resources could be utilised to empower victims not only as individuals but also as members of families and communities. Victims play an important role in crime prevention because they do not only provide critical information to the police and the court but many victims have found that through participating in community service, by helping other victims, and by initiating crime prevention as well as awareness programmes they have contributed significantly to their own healing. Therefore, it seems that if crime victims move away from their personal experiences to a broader social analysis, they aid their own recovery from the trauma of victimisation (Gates & Rohe 1987:441; Felman & Laub 1992:24).


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