“Our work, policing operations, are on track because we take time to sit around the table, talk, plan and interrogate our offerings,” she said at the first National Forensic Social Work Seminar in Pretoria.
She said a week ago, she had discussions with about 1 500 senior leaders of the organisation to talk about leadership.
“We met to talk about our leadership to ensure that the big agenda of keeping this country safe and secure continues to be achieved.”
Phiyega also had a national convention with the police training commanders from all 25 colleges.
“It was important for me to understand what it is they do to ensure we continue to advance our knowledge as the police.”
Regarding “forensic social work” Phiyega said although social workers have been reaching out to at risk youth, gang members, offenders and victims of crime for many years, the term has previously not been used widely.
“It is important to consider the violent crimes perpetrated against our children, women and the elderly and analyse the initiatives – or lack thereof – that are in place to support forensic social workers.”
She explained how forensic social work encompasses working with children and families involved in abuse, custody battles, divorce, neglect and termination of parental rights cases.
“All of these issues can be very emotionally charged and require an individual who is able to remain calm even in the most stressful situations. In forensic social work, an individual also can expect to work with people who have severe psychological and mental health issues.
“Forensic social workers handle victims’ rights in cases such as rape and murder; these services are stressful and emotionally draining,” Phiyega said.
Within the police force, it will be considered how Forensic Social Work can position itself in all family violence, child protection and sexual offences (FCS) units, which were established to conduct specialised investigations in cases of sexual offences, domestic violence and child abuse.
Phiyega stressed that the skills of forensic social workers must be enhanced to ensure a victim-orientated police service becomes an integral part of the overall criminal justice system in response to crimes against the vulnerable groups in society.