Crisis counsellors celebrate 16th anniversary

The Community Intervention Centre (CIC), which offers counselling and support to people in crisis situations, celebrated its 16th birthday yesterday.

In 2001, a “comfort room” was set up at Milnerton police station to provide free 24-hour trauma counselling.

Since then, the non-profit organisation’s trained volunteers have helped some 30 000 people. They have dealt with rape, murder, suicide, substance abuse, and other forms of trauma.

CIC manager Helen le Roux, a registered social worker, said: “The core functions of victim support are based on the principles of emotional support, practical support, information and referral to appropriate service providers in the community.”

Among other areas, the CIC serves Milnerton, Table View, Parklands, Melkbosstrand, Dunoon, Summer Greens, Joe Slovo, Montague Gardens and Bloubergrant.

Ms Le Roux said people in other areas could also use their services provided they were prepared to travel to the closest counselling venue.

“We have service agreements with the Milnerton, Table View and Melkbosstrand SAPS, as well as Netcare Blaauwberg and Mediclinic Milnerton. Should you need to schedule an appointment, please call the supervisor on the helpline 082 821 3447. The supervisor will screen the call and assist you from there.”

Ms Le Roux said while they helped between 150 to 200 people a month, it was a fraction of those affected by crime.

“The service we offer is reactive, and most people assume they don’t need debriefing after a traumatic incident. Although most people are able to cope many repress their emotions and if proper debriefing is not applied, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may set in after some time which often has a knock-on affect and may result in other issues arising.”

Ms Le Roux said CIC welcomed any help the the public was prepared to give, whether it was money or tissues for the counselling rooms.

Volunteers are also needed to help with fundraising and awareness campaigns.

“In future I would like to see us extend our service in the area of domestic violence,” said Ms Le Roux, adding that CIC volunteers had undergone training last year that would help them work with domestic violence offenders.

“I believe to address the issue of violence against partners we need to look at the source of the violence, the offender, to eradicate the abusive behaviour. It’s in eliminating the source of the trauma that we will have a chance to reduce or eliminate abuse.”

To find out more about the CIC, call the office at 021 528 3037 from Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 1pm or email or visit