Sexual Abuse Victim Empowerment program

Cape Mental Health
Country of Implementation
South Africa
Subsaharan Africa
Cape Town
First published

Cape Mental Health runs a unique Sexual Abuse Victim Empowerment (SAVE) program that empowers intellectually disabled victims of sexual abuse and provides them with access to justice. The program helps survivors prepare for court proceedings and helps the legal system to understand their special needs.

Solution details


“The SAVE program attempts to offer people with intellectual disabilities who are victims of sexual abuse the same access to justice as the general population and to ensure conviction of the perpetrators.” Carol BOSCH, Project Manager, Cape Mental Health

Problems Targeted

People with intellectual disabilities are easy prey for sexual predators, and cases of sexual abuse are common.

Solution, Innovation and Impact

Provide psychological assessments of a victim’s level of functioning, competence to act as a witness, and ability to consent to sexual intercourse. 
 Provide court preparation, support, counselling, and sex education and sexuality awareness for complainants and their families. 
 Provide expert witness by clinical psychologists as required and act as a liaison with all relevant agencies, in particular the South African Police Services and Justice Department. 
 Raise awareness among public prosecutors and police when dealing with complainants with 
intellectual disability by training them in appropriate interviewing skills. 
 Provide training and ongoing technical support to mental health societies, clinical psychologists, and related professionals across South Africa in order to extend the program 

Funding, Outlook and Transferability

In 2013–2014, SAVE was able to extend support services to some 100 survivors on an annual budget of SAR694,676 (approximately $87,000), which testifies to its affordability. In April 2013 the Cabinet of South Africa recommended that the SAVE model be integrated into the public sector gender-based violence intervention system and rolled-out across the country.


Related information


Solutions with the same:

Country of Implementation

South Africa

Region of Implementation


City of Implementation

Cape Town