Victims in KZN sex crime capital ‘starting to put their foot down’

2014-09-29 00:00

THE rise in sex crimes being reported in the latest SAPS police statistics is the result of victims “putting their foot down”.

But crisis organisations say there is still significant under-reporting of sexual related offences as often victims do not want to put the perpetrators behind bars, especially if they are family or close friends.

According to police statistics re-released last week and based on police precincts with populations of more than 21 000 people, Durban Central showed the highest proportion of the crime with 627 cases. The inner city also showed a startling figure of 131/10 000 residents likely to fall victim to any sexual crime — the highest in the province.

Second was Port Shepstone with 461 incidents followed by Umbilo, Inanda, Umlazi and then Empangeni.

In contrast, Hilton and Townhill in the Pietermaritzburg area and Durban North and Berea, Durban were among the lowest in the province.

Areas that showed significant increases from 2004 to 2013 were Westville (172%), Port Shepstone (111%), Brighton Beach and Umbilo.

Joey du Plessis, founder of Careline Crisis and Trauma Centre based in Hillcrest, said they have been “pretty busy” referring on a regular basis to RK Khan Hospital, which deals with trauma-related medical issues.

“It has been busy. We are finding a lot more people reporting crimes of a sexual nature and see more children. People are putting their foot down. They are scared, but they are standing up for themselves,” said Du Plessis.

Du Plessis said while all victims did not choose to push the matter in the criminal court, the types of sexual crimes “were much of the same”, no less or more violent than in the past.

“But one is always one too many”.

On September 19 the crime statistics released for KZN were questioned by various experts and only corrected last Wednesday. Sexual related crimes were among the statistics grossly incorrect in the first release. Those figures showed significant increases, by as much as 2 340% such as in Durban’s Illovo region.

Institute for Security Studies researcher Lizette Lancaster said most contact crimes were usually perpetrated by people known to the victim and that the release of incorrect figures was an administration error that could be avoided if the information was released more regularly.

“We need to take politics out of the criminal statistics and believe they should be managed by an institution such as StatsSA,” said Lancaster.

• jonathan.erasmus

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