Pretoria - As the abuse and murder of women has been thrust into the limelight since the beginning of the year, police in Sunnyside, Pretoria, are concerned as victims of domestic abuse have a propensity to withdraw cases.
Police spokesperson Captain Daniel Mavimbela said while police management in the area has been emphasising the efficient handling of domestic violence-related matters and the prevention of femicide, in a recent case, a 28-year-old victim who reported her alleged abuser to the police, later changed her mind, refusing to open a case.
"A quiet day quickly turned on its head when a 28-year-old woman rushed into the client service centre (CSC) of the police station on Wednesday and accused her husband of assaulting her and their two children, aged seven years and eight months respectively," said Mavimbela.
The woman was crying and bleeding from one of her fingers.
"She allegedly had been attacked by her knife-wielding husband, who also threatened their two children with violence."
According to Mavimbela, the victim had on Tuesday evening sought refuge in the police station, after alleged threats from the husband.
"Following a lengthy discussion with an officer, she opted to seek a protection order."
"The CSC commander on duty, Lieutenant Colonel Seakga Suping, wasted no time in dispatching his troops to the scene. Within five to ten minutes, the suspect, a 32-year-old man, had been removed from the scene in accordance with the Domestic Violence Act. He was kept in police holding cells, awaiting the opening of a case."
Mavimbela said at this point, the victim no longer wanted to press charges against her husband.
"Please release him, I will get a protection order," the victim said to the shift commander.
"In the absence of any case being opened, the shift commander had to allow the suspect to walk, leaving him with the option of recording the incident in the domestic violence register."
The chairperson of the local community police forum, Sandile Dube, has encouraged victims of domestic violence to continue reporting cases to the police.
"The fact that some of the victims could be vulnerable and depend on perpetrators financially or otherwise, should not be reason enough to allow perpetrators to go scot-free," said Dube.