An Exploratory Evaluation of Peacemaking Mediations Offered at Khulisa Social Solutions Victim Empowerment Centres in Gauteng, South Africa
This article records the findings of a qualitative study in which circle dialogue sessions and questionnaires were used to explore and evaluate the experiences of victims who participated in peacemaking mediations offered at Khulisa Social Solutions victim empowerment centres in Gauteng, South Africa. The findings highlight that the overall facilitation of the peacemaking mediation offered at Khulisa victim empowerment centres was conducted in a fair and respectful manner. The participants expressed their satisfaction with the facilitators, the facilitation, and the peacemaking agreements. Reconciliation was achieved in some cases, but the most significant result was that the victims were empowered, informed and strengthened through their experiences. Moreover, the participants expressed their appreciation for the restorative approach owing to its support and protection of the family unit. The findings showed that reconciliation was hindered in some cases by a lack of accountability, voluntary participation and needs-based interventions which could have been foreseen or resolved through adequate preparation and follow-ups. Moreover, the need for intervention and awareness in the community context was highlighted. However, the findings revealed that Khulisa is limited in providing preparation, follow-ups and interventions owing to a lack of staff, resources and time, because of limited funding. A call is made for funding to be provided to Khulisa and similar organisations by government and/or private enterprises, so that outreach, awareness and needs-based interventions may be provided. Furthermore, research should be conducted focusing on broader scale experiences of all stakeholders participating in services offered at Khulisa victim empowerment centres.
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