WOMEN AND CHILDREN ABUSE IS STILL A CONCERN
By: Khetho Dlamini
A stand against women and children abuse is an all-round initiative. Women’s month may be over but this initiative stands unshaken and mandatory for all.
The South African Police Service (SAPS), have taken it upon themselves to indulge in a raw and hands-on approach in fighting against women and children abuse.
The SAPS established the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit known as FCS, which is dedicated in protecting the vulnerable women and children.
This year’s women’s month saw an increase in the number of suspects arrested for crimes against women including family violence and sexual offences.
The FCS gave a report that there was a total number of 250 suspects that were arrested by the police.
Out of the 250, there were 65 convictions of sexual offences by different courts in KwaZulu-Natal alone. Out of these convictions, there were nine life sentences handed and a total of 623
years of imprisonment in this province.
Management of the FCS units welcomed the maximum sentences that were handed down in most cases and appreciated the fact that justice was delivered to the victims of these crimes.
Lieutenant Colonel Irene Kruger, North West FCS unit commander said, “The increase in the number of arrested suspects shows the effectiveness of the unit but raises a huge concern on
the safety of women in homes because it shows you that the people are still engaging in women and children abuse.”
The police argued that they can only respond and have little or no way can they stop to crimes of this nature.
“We can only engage in reactive policing over proactive policing when it comes to crimes that happen behind closed doors.
It is for the same reason why women are urged to report matters of abuse before they escalate to stages where even the life of the victims are at risk,” argued Constable Bongi Mazibuko.
Sexual offences have increased from the year 2010 according to the SAPS statistics.
Not only do these offences violate the victims physically, they also violate them psychologically and mentally.
Kim Barke, co-ordinator of the Silent Protest against women abuse said, “Sexual offences can have lifetime emotional and mental consequences on the victims.
These offences go beyond the violating the victims’ body only. We encourage victims to take part in the Silent Protests because they (protests) are a healing experience.”
Victims feel that the sentences that are handed to the people who commit crimes against women are too lenient and it affects them when they see those people back in the
communities in a short space of time.
“I do not think that a 3 months jail time for a rapist is in any way administration of justice.
The guy who raped me only served 3 months in jail and was back in the community.
Seeing him made me relive the experience of being raped and it is something I go through each time
I see him,” expounded rape survivor Khethiswe Mseleku.
The SAPS Resource Centre said that it is the commitment of the SAPS to treat victims of domestic violence with sensitivity and care as they (police) continue to educate against