27 -August -2016

Victim Empowerment

victim empowermentPurpose:

This qualification follows on from the registered National Certificate: Victim Empowerment at NQF level 3 and is the third within the Victim Empowerment career pathway.

This qualification will enhance the scope and quality of Victim Empowerment services in South Africa and provide Victim Empowerment service providers, primarily in the NGO and CBO sector, with the necessary knowledge and skills to provide direct services and co-ordinate Victim Empowerment programmes in their organisations.

Victim Empowerment is a developing sector. Currently there are many activities that encompass Victim Empowerment practice. There is a need to standardise and co-ordinate these activities in order to ensure successful implementation of Victim Empowerment policy and practice.

One of the developments in the sector was the establishment of Themba Lesizwe, as a South African network organisation, providing direct services to victims of crime, violence and human rights abuses, and doing preventative work with perpetrators and youth at risk. Themba Lesizwe currently has 265 affiliated organisations and the development of minimum standards with regard to service delivery and the development of qualifications is therefore crucial. The network provides a nodal point for co-ordination and standardisation for activities of the network.

The qualification is intended for service providers in the Victim Empowerment sector. These include community developers, auxiliary social workers and health care workers, experienced volunteers, members of the organisation (other than psychologists and social workers) who would co-ordinate Victim Empowerment programmes within their organisation. The qualification is not intended for individuals wanting to do long term counselling and individual counselling services, but for individuals working under the auspices of an organisation under the supervision of an appropriately trained mental health care professional.

The learner assessed as competent against this Qualification will be able to:

  • Co-ordinate Victim Empowerment programmes, campaigns and activities.
  • Support, co-ordinate and maintain strategic partnerships.
  • Support management in the planning and implementation of Victim Empowerment programmes and initiatives.
  • Mentor and co-ordinate volunteer activities.
  • Provide trauma support under supervision.



Violence is a global health problem and each year more than a million people lose their lives, and many more suffer non-fatal injuries as a result of self-inflicted interpersonal and collective violence.

However, only a fraction of individuals requiring these services actually receives the relevant assistance at any time. There are many reasons for this, such as the limited number of mental health professionals, the lack of accessible mental health services - particularly in rural areas, the inaccessibility to the Criminal Justice System, concerns about stigmatisation, fear of retribution and the fact that victims/survivors are often re-traumatised by the insensitive attitudes of service providers.

In response to the need for accessible mental health services, especially in poor and traditionally under-resourced communities, South Africa has in the past 10-15 years seen an explosion of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) providing counselling and other support services to victims of crime and violence, trauma, HIV/AIDS, mental health, adjustment problems, early childhood development etc. The majority of these services have evolved essentially within a needs driven context, rather than a theoretical one, and are provided by volunteers and lay counsellors working under the auspices of NGOs and/or mental health professionals, such as psychologists and social workers, while others are provided by Faith-Based Organisations (FBOs) and CBOs.

However, there is little or no formal recognition or regulation of services in the victim empowerment sector. Access to formal education/Qualifications is limited, with current access only through formal social work and psychology degrees. Many people working in community projects, NGOs, CBOs, FBOs have been providing essential services in their community without formally recognised training or Qualifications. Despite their considerable experience and insight, they are unable to gain entry into the field of Victim Empowerment and to access career paths in Victim Empowerment and related sub-fields.

The underlying philosophy that is applied is a Public Health, developmental and Social Justice approach, which considers crime to be a complex social, rather than legal, problem. It emphasises the need for community development, advocacy, prevention and early interventions, multi-agency and multidisciplinary co-operation and acknowledges the resourcefulness and resilience of individuals and communities. It also subscribes to the principles of restorative philosophy and practices.

Minimum Requirements

It would be desirable for learners wishing to access this Qualification to be competent at:

  • Communication at NQF level 3
  • Mathematical Literacy at NQF level 3

Recognition of prior learning

This Qualification and all the fundamental, core and elective Unit Standards associated with it, as described in the rules of combination, can be achieved by any learner through the recognition of prior learning, which includes learning outcomes achieved through formal, informal and non-formal learning and work experience. The exit-level outcomes and the related Unit Standards may also be achieved through the recognition of prior learning.