Unreported GBV cases may have caused decrease in sexual offences: Activist

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A Gender-based violence (GBV) activist has questioned whether the decrease in sexual offences is due to a lack of reporting. Non-profit organisation, Tekano’s Chief Executive Lebogang Ramafoko was reacting to the latest crime statistics that Police Minister Bheki Cele released on Friday.

The Police Minister  attributed the decrease to intensive GBV awareness campaigns. Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal police stations accounted for the most reported rape cases.

Ramafoko says only 25% of rape cases successfully make it through the criminal justice system.

“Because so many rapes happen in the home and so many people for various reasons would rather not report. We do know that the correct statistics says that only 25% of rape cases actually make it through the criminal Justice system and to say that there is drop because of gender awareness and gender sensitisation, I really want to question that. Because we will never know whether or not the drop is as a result of people deciding not to report the rape cases.”

South Africa’s murder rate continues to rise and reported rape cases are down:

Rape cases

Police say most rapes in the third quarter of the 2021-2022 financial year occurred at the residence of either the victim or the perpetrator.

Briefing Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Police, SAPS head of crime research, Major-General Norman Sekhukhune says such places account for 5 012 cases.

Other places include streets, open fields and recreational parks.

Sekhukhune says there were 61 cases of rape reported at educational institutions.

He has also given a breakdown on the number of rapes that occurred as part of domestic violence.

“The Western Cape was the highest with 155 and number 2 was Gauteng. They also had a domestic relationship with the perpetrator,” he says.

Numbers still high

Meanwhile, Police Minister Cele has called on members of the public to help to bring perpetrators of crime to justice.

The Minister says in many cases, families pressurise victims of crime to withdraw cases against perpetrators.

He says without the co-operation of members of the public, it is difficult to bring perpetrators to book.

“The families are playing a big role … on this question of women and murder abuse,” adds Cele

Meanwhile, the committee chairperson Tina Joemat-Peterson says even though the police statistics released on Friday show a decrease in rapes, the numbers are still too high.

“It gives us an average of 122 … unacceptable and totally unheard of,” says Joemat-Peterson.

Below is the full crime stats report: