Don't turn a blind eye to domestic abuse

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula on Thursday called on all South Africans to report any suspicion of domestic abuse.

“I am calling on all of us to report any suspicion of domestic abuse and remember always that each domestic beating is a potential murder, each domestic sexual abuse of a child is a potential ... infanticide,” the Minister said.

Speaking at the two-day Action on Gender Based Violence and Protection of Vulnerable Groups Indaba in Tshwane, Minister Mbalula said violence against women and girls is an extreme manifestation of gender inequality and systemic gender-based discrimination.

“The right of women and children to live free of violence depends on the protection of their human rights and a strong wire of justice,” Minister Mbalula said.

Minister Mbalula said a rape survivor must have access to counselling in a health clinic that can administer emergency medical care, including treatment to prevent HIV and unintended pregnancy.

“A woman who is beaten by her husband or boyfriend must have someplace to go with her children to have safety, sanity and shelter. Government must make that available. I am instructing police management to make this a priority in our budgetary matters,” Minister Mbalula said.

The Minister said a victim of violence must have confidence that when she or he files a police report that they will receive justice and the perpetrator will be punished.

According to the Minister, statistics show that for the period April 2016 to September 2016, a total of 60 003 domestic violence related cases were registered on the SAPS Crime Administration System.

Minister Mbalula said the protection of human rights, prosecution of offenders, prevention of violence and provision of services to survivors is a legal obligation.

“To end femicide, we need to end impunity, bring perpetrators to justice, and every individual has to change his or her attitude towards this being ‘just a private domestic issue’,” the minister said.

From April 2016 to December 2016, there were 37 630 reported cases of sexual offences. Of these, 30 069 (80%) were reported cases of rape, which showed a decrease of 6.5% from the previous year’s trimester.

Minister Mbalula called on police officers not to humiliate and victimise victims at the police stations when reporting cases of violations.

“We must make sure each police station has a victim friendly room. We encourage business to adopt their local police stations and assist their communities with these facilities,” the Minister said.

The Indaba was prompted by the recent spate of violence and murder of women by men.

The Indaba bring together various stakeholders, community leaders and the media under one roof to create opportunities for robust engagements in the fight against gender based violence. – SAnews.gov.za

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