Editorial | Basic policing needed to stop abuse

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This week’s statistics reveal that more than 13 000 women were victims of assault .Photo: Archive
This week’s statistics reveal that more than 13 000 women were victims of assault .Photo: Archive


The marking of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children that started on Friday comes hot on the heels of worrying second-quarter crime statistics, which were released on Wednesday.

The 18.5% increase of all contact crimes includes assault, kidnappings, attempted murder and murder. They affect the most vulnerable in our communities – women and children. Unfortunately, the national strategic plan on gender-based violence and femicide is one of those fancy policy documents designed to collect dust as we continue to fail to protect women and children.

This week’s statistics reveal that more than 13 000 women were victims of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm in the period from July to September; more than 1 200 women were victims of attempted murder; 989 women were murdered during this period; and 10 000 rape cases were opened.

READ: SAPS says there are more than 17 000 pending sexual offence cases

The statistics are dire and it is clear that there is no adequate response from the police to stop this unabating scourge that is responsible for ripping families and communities apart.

The constant war that is being waged against women and children in their homes and in our communities keeps intensifying.

The state is hapless, as conviction rates remain embarrassingly low. Criminals are getting more emboldened by the state of lawlessness in this country.

READ: SAPS: Too many sheriffs and not enough cops

To stem the tide of gender-based violence, efforts should be intensified to solve basic policing issues such as tackling the backlog in our forensic libraries, capacitating police stations with trained officers who can deal with domestic violence cases, and increasing the number of investigating teams to improve conviction rates of crimes such as rape and femicide.

It’s time to go back to the basics in order for the picture to improve.

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