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SAPS steps up to help victims of gender-based violence

Written by Sulaiman Philip
The South African Police Service has a six-point plan to help women and children report abuse and violence.

Minister of Police, Fikilie Mbalula, launches the ‘Reducing Barriers to the Reporting of Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence’ policy. (Photo: SAPS)Minister of Police, Fikilie Mbalula, recently launched a South African Police Service (SAPS) policy to make it easier for victims of gender-based violence to turn to the police for help – ensuring that women will no longer be turned away from a police station with advice to be nicer to her husband or boyfriend.

The policy ‘Reducing Barriers to the Reporting of Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence’ is being rolled out nationwide and will guide all SAPS interventions when dealing with incidents of sexual violence and domestic abuse.

Minister Mbalula hopes that comunities and victims will now be able to hold the police accountable for their response.

“In the policy there are a host of interventions to prevent and deter crime, as well as respond appropriately and compassionately to victims of violence. This policy says we at SAPS have a role to play. We have a critical role in creating safer communities and providing a platform for communities.”

Speaking at the launch of the policy in Eldorado Park, the Minister said that not reporting these crimes means that too many men are getting away with crimes against women.

“We must not re-humiliate or re-victimise people at our police stations. We must make sure each police stations has a victim friendly room. No victim must be sent away from a police station without a case being opened and a proper interview. We need not see bruises to open a case.”

      The six-point plan
  1. All victims should be treated with respect and dignity and interviewed by a trained police official in a victim sensitive manner.
  2. Victims should be assisted in a victim friendly or alternative room, where a statement will be taken in private providing victim support services.
  3. Victims will be referred/taken for medical examination by the healthcare professional to obtain medical evidence and complete a medical report, including seeing to the health of the victim.
  4. The investigation should be conducted by the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Investigation Unit or a detective with relevant training.
  5. Victims of sexual offences, femicide and infanticide and their families should be referred to victim support services that are available within the precinct for legal, medical, social and psychological help.
  6. Victims should be proactively and continuously given feedback on the progress of their cases.
  • Gender-based violence helpline: 0800 150 150
  • Gender-based violence command centre: *120*7867#