NW govt aims to reduce sexual crimes

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pretoria - The North West provincial government has set a target to reduce sexual crimes in the province by at least 7 percent.

This comes after the Department for Public Safety held a workshop on Wednesday on the implementation of the Integrated Strategy to Prevent and Combat Sexual Offences, where the stakeholders set up a strategic goal for the reduction of rape and sexual offences at a minimum of 7 percent.

The strategy focuses on six priority areas including prevention, early intervention, responses of the criminal justice system, victim support and service provision, research and information management as well as an integrated and collaborative approach.

North West MEC for Public Safety, Howard Yawa said the strategy will lead to the reduction of reported sexual cases by 319 every year.

According to the 2008/09 Annual Crime Statistics Report announced by Provincial MEC for Public Safety, Howard Yawa last month, 5 295 cases of sexual crimes were reported in the province in the last financial year.

The South African Police Service highlighted that 41.58 percent of the sexual crimes occurred on Saturdays, with 44.82 percent of the crimes occurred between 8pm and midnight.

The workshop was part of the department's consultation process to market the strategy to all role players including the private sector, civic organisations and specific interest groups.

Yawa said the marketing exercise was intended to raise awareness with a view to eradicate misconceptions around sexual offences, gender based violence and their causes.

"The workshops on the integrated strategy are also aimed to improve the functioning of Thuthuzela Care Centres (TCC) established through the National Prosecution Authority's Sexual Offences and Community Affairs Unit," he said.

The centres are aimed at reducing secondary victimization of sexual violence offences, improving the process of reporting and prosecution of sexual violence offences to a dignified and caring environment.

"The one stop centre models brings together various role players, which are based at different provincial hospitals across the country, focus on sexual violence against women and children and also meant to improve conviction rate," he said.

The Mafikeng TCC has a 100 percent women staff compliment, which comprises a site coordinator, victim assistance officer, nurse, doctor, police officer, counsellor, psychologist and case manager.