Sexual and Gender based violence has a significant impact on society. When coupled with the high HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in South Africa, the impact of SGBV is amplified. To empower victims and extend quality care to them within a safe environment, Thuthuzela Care Centers (TCC’s) and Rape Crisis Centers were established by donors and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). The TCC’s and Rape Crisis Centers are the frontline when dealing with victims of Sexual and gender based violence. This is the point at which all case documentation and post event care is consolidated for further actions such as court cases and ongoing medical treatment.
Unfortunately, the conviction rate of suspected perpetrators remains very low, mainly due to administrative inefficiencies and case files disappearing. This coupled with social stresses and stigmas associated with rape further aggravate victims within the GBV landscape. Victims lose interest when faced by these challenges and often just want to get on with their lives. Many offenders are known to commit similar crimes again in the future. Few inroads have been made in producing reliable data for research on interventions at these facilities.
With the aim of reducing the challenges faced by both victims and authorities, QodeCase was developed. Designed as an electronic record keeping and analysis system, which enables efficient processing of information for the victims of sexual and gender based violence, this case management system has proven its worth in meeting the challenges put before it.
QodeCase operates through a web browser which allows it to function on computers or tablets which makes the system mobile. This mobility aids care workers in capturing the relevant information in a variety of situations, for example while a victim is undergoing treatment or the comfort of an office.
The essential first step in working with QodeCase is to capture the victim’s personal data which will be used to pre-populate documents. These documents will subsequently be used by the relevant personnel whom records the findings and case details. Pre-populating the legal forms ensures uniformity of information and reduces the occurrence of human error when re-entering information on a multitude of forms. The remainder of the details can be captured when time permits or during post care such as when, where, and how the crime was committed. The data can be used for further automated processing.
Once the treatment and examination is done, the completed forms are captured into QodeCase where they are securely stored in a cloud based database. This ensures the availability of a copy of the case file which aids in bringing perpetrators to account for their actions. This will also result in a higher number of court cases and legal proceedings, as well as increase the conviction rate as stored files are easily accessible.
QodeCase also enables case personnel to communicate with the victim, keeping a full audit trail of all actions or communications. No documents or file information can be changed once finalized. Files cannot be deleted fully.
A reporting portal is coupled to the system which enables project management to draw reports as required. Most reports are pre-populated according to client needs. Based on Microsoft reporting services and BI tools, the project team, donor, NPA and Case Managers can view, in near real-time, what is happening in a facility, district, province or even nationally. The system has provided new insights into what is being done at the facilities in the fight against sexual and gender based violence. QodeCase has been implemented in TCCs run by the Foundation for Professional Development and the NPA, and has proven its worth in providing real and relevant information to fight the scourge of SGBV.
The CMS system is easily customizable and can be applied to any situation requiring the functionality of QodeCase. As an example, this system could be used as a basic EMR, document warehouse or case management tool for other projects.
Special Mentions – The GBV CMS was the subject of 2 peer reviewed poster presentations and 1 Oral presentation at the 1st National Violence conference held during 2016. The CMS has also been the subject of a further peer reviewed poster presentation at the 21st International AIDS conference held in Durban in 2016. It has also been well received by USAID, a donor for the TCC program. The system is the first time that properly disaggregated, validated information has been captured from a Thuthuzela Care Centre.