Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said he is focussing his efforts at ensuring that all gender-based violence crimes are made easier and less traumatic to report to the police.
During the launch of a gender-based violence and protection of vulnerable groups indaba on Thursday in Centurion, Mbalula conceded that there are police and societal barriers to reporting gender based crimes to the police.
“I aimed at focusing our efforts into making it easier and less traumatic to report these crimes,” said Mbalula.
“The continued perpetuation of these crimes emanate from the cases that get withdrawn and not reported.”
“Often victims say they were chased away from police station or their case was not treated seriously or they were viewed with suspicion, re-victimised, humiliated or simply ignored by our police.”
Mbalula said the gap between reported and unreported incidents of sexual offences and domestic violence must be reduced.
“Let us reduce barriers to reporting these crimes. We must put our people first.”
He added that victims must be treated with dignity and that each station must have Victim Friendly Room.
“The offences of domestic violence, rape, femicide and infanticide particularly, are surrounded by strong feelings, and insensitive interviewing of a victim by police or friends of a victim already humiliated and degraded, may cause further trauma.”
“No victim must be sent away from a police station without a case being opened and a proper interview made. We need not see bruises to open a case.”
“Each slap on the face is a potential femicide. Each unwanted touching is a potential rape. Each nasty word, harassment to LGBTQI community is a potential hate crime”, he said.
The six point plan which Mbalula unveiled last week is part of the policy objectives to ensure that victims of gender based crimes are treated correctly when reporting the matters.
The plan says that all victims should be treated with respect and dignity; victims will be referred/taken for medical examination, and all victims must receive feedback on the progress of their cases.
The minister said: “Each police station will have these 6 points posted visibly at the police station, and awareness, including a national instruction, has been prepared in this regard.
“Whilst some allegations of rape may be false, all investigations must commence on the premise that the complainant is a genuine victim. Police and community should not be courts of law. Courts are the only centres to pronounce guilt or not guilt.”[Source: news24]