SAPS encouraged by conversations on violence

SAPS encouraged by conversations on violence

The South African Police Service (SAPS)'s top management said on Thursday in a statement that they welcomed all sectors of society that were condemning the recent spate of violence against women and children.


Courtney Peters, Karabo Mokoena, Bongeka Phungula and Popi Qwabe were murdered in various incidents.


"The recent earnest conversations on the subject of kidnapping, abduction, rape, the murder of women and children and domestic violence, are very encouraging as they are raising awareness among women and men about the seriousness of this situation," spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said.


"The importance of awareness and education on these matters, cannot be overemphasised."


He said that the harsh reality of most of these cases, was that they are committed by persons close to or known to the victims.


"They happen behind closed doors, which makes policing such crimes, very difficult. In order to overcome the scourge of women and children abuse, people are encouraged to report the matter to the police, irrespective of how trivial they may think their case is," Naidoo said.


"Any form of abuse may constitute a crime, therefore it should be reported to the police immediately."


Naidoo said any failure to do so, could result in the situation spiralling out of control and escalating to more serious crimes, such as murder.


"As the country observes National Child Protection Week from 27 May to 2 June, the SAPS again calls on community members to report any suspicion of child abuse, neglect or exploitation of children, not only during Child Protection Week, but at any given time."


Naidoo said the SAPS currently had 1045 designated victim-friendly rooms (VFR) at police stations and police contact points all over the country.


"VFRs are an extension of the community service centres (CSC). The value of a VFR is that it assists in preserving the dignity of victims by making space available where a statement can be taken in privacy, in accordance with the SAPS's mandate. At the police stations that are not yet equipped with these facilities, a room is made available for victims to be interviewed in private."


He added that cases that were of a sexual nature and family violence, were investigated by their specialised unit called the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit.


"These units were able to secure 541 life sentences in the 2016/2017 financial year, which is a significant improvement on the 167 life sentences in the 2010/2011 financial year," said Naidoo.


He said the units had specialised investigating officers and with the support of forensic investigators and the Forensic Science Laboratory, it was very difficult for sexual predators to escape prosecution.


" In June 2016, a 24-year sentence was imposed on Phiwayinkosi Ngobese for a rape he had committed 11 years ago. Last year, Bob Hewitt (a former professional tennis ace) was sentenced to six years' imprisonment for having committed sexual crimes decades ago," Naidoo said.


"These successes and many others like these, are proof that the perpetrators of such crimes will face the full might of the law if cases are reported to the police."


Naidoo advised that the best way to overcome such issues was through prevention.


"Parents must entrust their children to trustworthy and reliable people, Avoid dark and lonely places, Report abuse and crimes immediately after they have taken place (do not withdraw cases unnecessarily) and Always communicate your whereabouts to your family and/or friends."


SAPS urged communities to work closely with the police to break the cycle of women and child abuse.

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