Keep your domestic staff safe

The recent stabbing of a domestic worker in Nooitgedacht has once again highlighted the importance of empowering your domestic staff in the event of a home invasion.


In the incident in question, the suspects gained access to the farm property at about 08:00 in the morning and when the domestic worker went out the back door to hang up laundry, she was approached by three male suspects wearing balaclavas. The worker screamed and was stabbed by one of the suspects – who left her lying in the driveway. The domestic worker managed to get up and flee the scene, running to a nearby petrol station to call for help.


ADT Security says the necessity and reality of the two income household means that domestic staff, be they working inside the house or in the garden, are often all alone on the property for most of the day.


“On the one hand this offers homeowners a level of security for their homes but, on the other, it leaves domestic workers exposed and at risk in their place of work,” says Theunis Kotze, General Manager ADT Inland Region. “I cannot stress enough how vital it is to train your domestic staff about home security and crime prevention.”


The security suburb initiative named Domestic Watch offers an ideal platform for this kind of training. Domestic Watch offers interactive meetings for garden staff and domestic workers about crime prevention.


“In our training sessions we focus on two aspects of safety: how to prevent a crime and, how to pass on information without putting your life in jeopardy,” says Kotze.


Kotze says that lack of information is one of the biggest obstacles for the SAPS and that the neighbourhood domestic workers, the eyes and ears of the suburb, need to know how to pass on this information.


Another factor often forgotten is whether your domestic staff will be able to contact you or call for help from emergency services? Do your domestic staff know how to give directions to your home in the event of an emergency?


Employers can help by ensuring that their domestic staff have airtime for emergencies as well as a portable panic button linked to their security provider.


“Another way for homeowners to play a role in the safety of their staff by teaching them how to arm and disarm the alarm system,” says Kotze. “Domestic staff should ideally have their own code, password and panic button. Have a list of emergency contact numbers – including your mobile number – stuck on or near the phone. These numbers should be saved to the cell phone memory as well. Discuss any safety concerns or security issues you are aware of with your domestic staff,” he says.


“The Domestic Watch meetings have proved very successful and we have seen many examples of domestic workers implementing what they have learnt and reacting correctly in an emergency or reporting suspicious activity to the SAPS or their security company. “We encourage residents to support this important suburb initiative,” says Kotze.