Experiences of healthcare staff in forensic care facilities supporting sexual violence survivors, in Tshwane, South Africa

Moreoagae B. Randa*, Julie McGarry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Sexual violence is a persisting global epidemic that is constantly increasing on a large scale. The rate of sexual violence in South Africa is one of the highest in the world; and it has been reported to appear socially normalised and acceptable. Objectives: The study aimed to explore and describe the experiences of healthcare staff working in forensic care centres (FCCs) in Tshwane, South Africa. Method: A qualitative approach was followed incorporating focus group interviews with a range of healthcare staff based in the two FCCs. Non-probability purposive sampling was done. Data analysis was informed by the Analytic Hierarchy Model which comprised of three steps: data management, descriptive accounts and developing explanatory accounts. Results: Three main themes emerged as, (1) help them to do away with the idea of self-blame: everyday work; (2) barriers to the accessibility of care: seeking alternative traditional remedies (muti) from traditional healers and working in an unconducive environment and (3) compassionately sick at times: Emotional impact of forensic care work. Conclusion: The findings revealed that the healthcare staff are often working in difficult circumstances and that both professional and societal factors mediate against the provision of care and support for survivors. Greater attention is needed both in terms of service development and wider challenges to pervading societal norms surrounding violence against women. Contribution: The study highlighted the need for training, improved management support and debriefing sessions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbera2374
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • forensic care
  • forensic care centre
  • healthcare staff
  • sexual violence
  • survivors
  • victims


Dive into the research topics of 'Experiences of healthcare staff in forensic care facilities supporting sexual violence survivors, in Tshwane, South Africa'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this