Everyday Hero: Jackie Branfield

Founder: Operation Bobbi Bear

Why is Jackie an Everyday Hero?

Often described as a maverick crusader, Jackie Branfield, the founder of Operation Bobbi Bear, first took action against sexual crimes in 1992.

In a moment of frustration, Jackie demanded to see the docket of an alleged statement made by a four-year-old girl.

The police officer handling the case replied that the child did not make the statement as she was simply too traumatized to speak. As a result, the officer wrote “I was raped” on the docket – a statement completely insufficient to be used in a court of law.

Jackie decided to do something about this, and created Bobbi Bear, a teddy bear with a difference.

Bobbi Bear comes with a permanent marker and plasters so that a victim can indicate directly on the bear where he/she was violated. This bear is completely permissible in a court of law.

In her own words.

“Operation Bobbi Bear is unique. We’re the cowboys. We go to the children, kick in the door if necessary and rescue them so that we may cut down on the risk of HIV.”

Fast Facts

  • Reported cases of child sexual abuse have increased by 400% in the past eight to nine years.
  • In KwaZulu-Natal it is estimated that 51% of adults between 16 and 45 years are HIV-positive.
  • Rape and abuse charge dockets are difficult to complete due to language barriers. The loss of facts results in cases being refused to be heard in a court of law, culminating in perpetrators walking free.
  • Jackie’s vision with Bobbie Bear is to collaborate with the criminal justice system to ensure that the safety and rights of sexually abused children are upheld.

How can I help?

Find out how you can support Jackie and her team at the Bobbi Bear Foundation.

Contact the Bobbi Bear Foundation
Tel: 031 903 2424
Fax: 031 903 2430

Story first published on SAinfo on 5 May 2008.
Source: Brand South Africa