SAPS Tongaat held a women’s development programme to commemorate Women’s Month at V. Moonsamy Hall in Buffelsdale recently. SAPS Tongaat Women’s Network and Men for Change in conjunction with the Community Policing Forum organised the function to commemorate the role played by women in the community. Representatives from Tongaat SAPS and Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit attended the function.Guest speakers addressed the community about sexual offences and the importance of reporting such incidents to the police. Police spokesperson in Tongaat Captain Patrick Ngwane said: “Captain Naidoo from Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit advised the community that victims of sexual abuse should go to a safe place as soon as possible and get help if they have been sexually abused. She further stated that all women have the right to say no to people abusing them,” Ngwane said.Sushie Govender from Haven of Rest advised the community to visit their centre to learn about various programmes for the community. Govender said the centre provides accessible and cost effective services for people suffering from alcohol and drug abuse. A prosecutor Cheryl Pillay raised her concern about the increase of gender based violence cases that end up without any prosecution because there is no substantial evidence. Pillay said physical evidence is crucial in helping to prosecute assailants in cases of rape or sexual assault. Kavitha Seonandan from Tongaat Child and Family Welfare Society encouraged the community to come forward to their centre if they experience any abuse.Seonandan encouraged women to support each other to empower other young women.Zama Mbili from Thuthuzela Centre said: “Women must not compromise but instead they must rise above issues by reporting perpetrators of gender based violence to the police immediately,” Mbili said. Another guest, Nesh Maharaj demonstrated martial arts, self defence, fitness and confidence building techniques.