Step by step guide to treat gender based violence victims

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has launched a Six Point Plan which will guide police on how to treat gender based violence victims.

The plan, which was unveiled on Friday at the Eldorado Police Station in Soweto, Johannesburg, will guide the police on how to behave, what to do, and how to do it when it comes to issues of sexual offences and domestic violence.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Mbalula said the focus for public awareness will be the Six Point Plan extracted from the Policy on Reducing Barriers to Reporting of Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence.

“The Six Point Plan will be a concise guide for both our police and communities. We are putting our people first……we are confirming their dignity and human rights. We are frankly saying, in us, in your government you have a reliable group of people committed to making your life better,” Minister Mbalula said.

The Minister also reiterated that no victim must be sent away from a police station without a case being opened and a proper interview made.

“We need not see bruises to open a case. Each slap on the face is a potential femicide. Each unwanted touching is a potential rape. Each verbal abuse of a woman because of her dress is a potential rape and each nasty word of harassment to the LGBTI community is a potential hate crime.”

The Minister also warned that in the past, men had power over their wives, including the complete control over their properties and of their daily affairs, but that was history.

“Women and girls are not male property, full stop! One victim of such crimes is one too many. The time has come for all members of SAPS to re-instil a sense of commitment to the vulnerable in our communities. We have no time to waste time!” the Minister said.

The Six Point Plan includes that:

  • All victims should be treated with respect, dignity and interviewed by a trained police official in a victim sensitive manner;
  • Victims should be assisted in a Victim Friendly Room (VFR) or an alternative room where the statement will be taken in private or other location providing victim support services;
  • Victims will be referred/taken for medical examination by a healthcare professional to obtain medical evidence and complete a medical report including seeing to the health of the victim;
  • The investigation should be conducted by the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Investigation Unit (FCS) or a detective with relevant training;
  • The families and victims of sexual offences, femicide and infanticide should all be referred to victim support services that are available within the precinct for legal, medical, social and psychological help; and
  • Victims should be proactively given feedback on the progress of their cases on a continuous basis.

Minister Mbalula said each police station will have the six points posted visibly at the police station and awareness, and a national instruction has been prepared in this regard.

Action Indaba on Gender Based Violence

Meanwhile, the South African Police Service will next week officially launch the “Action Indaba on Gender Based Violence and Protection of Vulnerable Groups” at the Tshwane Police Academy.

The first of its kind for the SAPS, the Indaba seeks to bring various stakeholders, community leaders and the media under one roof to create opportunities for robust engagements in the fight against gender based violence.

The two-day dialogue session will be held from the 17 to 18 August 2017.

Gender based violence victims can call the toll free number on 0800 428 428 (0800 GBV GBV) and will be able to speak to a social worker for assistance and counselling. Callers can also request a social worker from the command centre to contact them by dialling *120*7867# (free) from a cell phone. – SAnews.gov.za