Concern over domestic violence stats

2011-08-24 16:03

Cape Town - The police's under-reporting of domestic violence cases is worrying, the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) said on Wednesday.

It had been revealed that there were no reliable domestic violence statistics, Popcru spokesperson Mampane Norman said.

This situation was worrisome as many cases might not be presented to the courts if such records were not kept, he said.

Popcru argued that it was necessary to enhance refresher courses for all police officers to understand that reporting was a critical component of gathering data to measure impact on policy implementation.

Further, "jerking on synergy of all components" of government's criminal justice cluster of ministries was also imperative to uproot gender-based violence.

"Acceleration of transformation of the criminal justice [system] to enhance access to justice cannot be relegated any further," Norman said.

Lack of domestic violence statistics

Earlier, the DA said it wanted Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to explain the lack of domestic violence statistics.

DA spokesperson Denise Robinson said that a recent reply to a parliamentary question indicated the government did not keep reliable statistics on domestic violence.

"In particular, the reply [by Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini] reveals that the [SA Police Service (SAPS)] does not consider domestic violence a stand-alone crime when it compiles statistics.

"As a result, the SAPS cannot track trends and develop effective policing strategies to combat domestic violence."

This made a mockery of the police's oft-stated priority to reduce violence against women.

Robinson said she intended asking National Assembly committee on women, children, and people with disabilities chairperson Dorothy Ramodibe to summon Mthethwa to appear before the committee to explain why the police did not keep domestic violence statistics.

The meeting would also give Mthethwa a chance to explain the "numerous other deficiencies" in the police’s approach to domestic violence recently identified in a study by the Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre.

These included a lack of required documentation such as forms at police stations and inadequate training of police officers in implementing the Domestic Violence Act.

Other deficiencies were police's widespread failure to protect domestic violence victims, the failure of oversight mechanisms (such as the Independent Complaints Directorate) to act against police officers who ignored the obligations that the act placed on them, and the police's failure to report to Parliament on the implementation of the act every six months as required by law.

- SAPA

Read more on:    popcru  |  police  |  da  |  nathi mthethwa  |  domestic violence
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