Violence against women and kids on the rise

2017-05-21 05:52
Major General Tebello Mosikili

Major General Tebello Mosikili

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Johannesburg - Although they are unable to reveal by how much incidents of violence against women and children have increased countrywide, the police have warned that the numbers are on the rise.

Major General Tebello Mosikili, national head of the police’s Family Violence Child Protection and Sexual Offences Investigation unit, has warned women to report abuse early – lest they be killed by their partners.

Mosikili, whose unit investigates all cases of violence against women and children, said: “More needs to be done to address the problem of domestic abuse. These crimes are taking place where they cannot be policed. They take place in bedrooms, homes and secluded areas where policing such crimes is almost impossible.”

According to Mosikili, the violence starts small and then escalates to the point where “lives are lost”.

She said the violence should be dealt with more effectively when the abuse first starts.

“We are encouraging partners to report any acts of violence at an early stage to ensure that it is dealt with then. If the person does not want to open a criminal case, it is always advised that they should at least obtain a protection order.”

The latest police statistics show that between April and December last year, 14 333 people were murdered in South Africa and there were 37 630 sexual offences.

While police statisticians have included rape as a subcategory of sexual offences to enable them to identify the size of the problem (there were 30 069 rapes over the April to December 2016 period), there has been no move so far to similarly enumerate the numbers of femicides – women killed by their intimate partners – as a subcategory of murder.

The only available figures are from the SA Medical Research Council (MRC), which has found that 40% of men assault their partners daily – and that three women in South Africa are killed by their intimate partner every day.

Mosikili said her unit was busy investigating several cases in which the victims involved were making the cops’ jobs difficult by laying charges against their abusive partners – but then insisting on dropping them and calling an end to the investigation.

“The new Domestic Violence Act prevents police from dropping charges against the suspects, but a lack of cooperation from the complainants often stalls the cases. In most of the cases, this happens when the victim and the suspect reconcile,” she said.

Mosikili said the problem was enormous and encouraged everyone to offer solutions to stop the scourge.

“Police alone cannot win this battle. Police are not everywhere and in most of the incidents, the fights take place in private areas. And that is where the killings take place,” she said.

“In most of the instances, the bodies are later dumped in secluded areas.”

Mosikili cited one case that her unit had been dealing with since February, concerning an 11-month-old baby who was sexually assaulted by a 27-year-old man.

Another concerned the rape and murder in Sandton of a two-year-old girl, whose mother discovered her lifeless body in her bed.

“We are working with a number of nongovernmental and other organisations which support our cause to fight the scourge,” she said.

While in some cases of domestic violence men are the victims, in most, men are the perpetrators.

A study conducted by the World Health Organisation in 2012 found that 65% of women in South Africa had experienced spousal abuse a year before the research was conducted. The study also showed that their partners either always or sometimes drank alcohol before the assaults took place.

Alcohol consumption, especially to harmful levels, was not just a major contributor to the occurrence of intimate partner violence, but also served as a key source of conflict, said Professor Naeemah Abrahams, the lead author of the MRC study.

How do you think that making femicide a subcategory of murder in the police’s crime statistics reports will help the country to fight the scourge of violence against women?

SMS us on 35697 using the keyword FEMICIDE and tell us what you think. Please include your name and province. SMSes cost R1.50

Read more on:    saps  |  gender  |  crime
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