Establishment of GBV desks in police stations to be finalised next month – Police Minister, Bheki Cele

Police Minister, Bheki Cele, says the establishment of gender-based violence (GBV) desks in all police stations around the country will be finalised at the end of March 2022.

Presenting the quarterly crime statistics for the period from 01 October 2021 to 31 December 2021, Cele reiterated that GBV and Femicide (GBVF) remains a priority crime for the South African Police Services (SAPS).

Cele said dedicated GBV desks are now available at 381 police stations across the country and 91 489 police officers have been trained in victim empowerment, domestic violence, sexual offences related programs to ensure victim-centred service is provided by officers at police stations.

“Through our 185 Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) Units, including nine Serial Electronic Crime Investigation units (SECI), detectives are solely focusing their efforts and expertise on investigating crimes against women and children.

“The FCS has handed down 272 life sentences for crimes committed against women and children, since April to date. Some of these sentences include the convictions of serial rapists who have been rightfully handed down heavy sentences,” Cele highlighted.

Cele attributed decrease in sexual offences, especially rape cases in some provinces to their GBV awareness campaigns and contact meetings with SAPS and communities.

“The service has also ramped up its communication and sensitisation on GBVF crimes through print, television and radio mediums. The publication of convictions in all provinces has increased which serves as a deterrent to perpetrators.

“The implementation of the National Strategic Plan (NSP) on GBVF by various government stakeholders, gaining ground, and there is increased synergy by all departments in prioritising this crime,” Cele said.

The Minister also welcomed the three new pieces of legislation aimed at strengthening efforts to end GBV.

“The amendment of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, the Criminal and Related Matters Amendment Act, and the Domestic Violence Amendment Act will surely strengthen not only the country, but the SAPS’s responses to GBVF. The Domestic Violence Amendment Act progressively introduces online applications for protection order against acts of domestic violence.

“We are encouraged that the Acts will ensure a victim-centred focus and make it more difficult for perpetrators to escape justice. These legislations will amongst many interventions, tighten bail and usher in minimum sentencing provisions for GBVF accused persons,” the Minister said.

While the country saw a 9.0% decrease in cases recorded for sexual offences, the report showed that 11 315 people were raped between October and December 2021, a decrease of 903 rape cases, compared to the previous reporting period.

The statistics also show that many sexual assaults such as rape, happen behind closed doors among people who are known to each other.

Over 5 012 of rape incidents took place at the home of the victim or the home of the rapist.

Cele called on communities to be more proactive in the prevention of this crime that is often difficult to police.

“Six hundred and seventy-four rapes were domestic violence-related and 632 of rape cases in this category, involved female victims and 42 were males. The Eastern Cape’s Lusikisiki police station, Umlazi and Inanda station in KwaZulu-Natal recorded the highest incidents of rape,” Cele said.

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