Phiyega: SA must be active against rape

The National Police Commissioner urged communities to unite and speak out against sexual violence.

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega has urged communities to unite and speak out against sexual violence. Picture: SAPA

PRETORIA - National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega on Monday urged communities to unite and speak out against sexual violence against women and children.

She was speaking to Eyewitness News, as outrage at the gang-rape and mutilation of Bredasdorp teen Anene Booysen grows.

The three suspects arrested in connection with the crimes will appear in court again on Tuesday.

Phiyega said men and women must make their voices heard.

"Do not keep quiet as a member of a community. If there is something you know, let the police know."

She said where the police were able to, they would assist communities fight the scourge.

And Phiyega said while there was a lot of emphasis placed on protecting and raising girl children, boys needed adequate guidance too.

"They also need to be socialised, they also need to be prepared for engaging with their counterparts."

The General said contributing factors like drug and alcohol abuse should also be addressed with the youth.

South Africa was in 2012 named the rape capital by Interpol, with about 65,000 sexual offences reported to police last year.

SPECIALISED CENTRES FOR VICTIMS

Phiyega said specialised service centres would be introduced to help victims of sexual offences.

She said some 160 specialised centres were introduced at police stations throughout the country.

"We give specialised attention, where we use forensic social workers, forensic psychologists and specialised intervention."

Phiyega said trained officers at these centres place emphasis on the the victim, instead of simply focusing on the crime.

"We're not just looking at the reporting of crimes."

She said that police will offer counselling services at these centres.

Meanwhile, government communications officials took to the streets of Pretoria on Monday afternoon to protest against the rapes and murders of several teenage girls over the past few weeks.

Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams said public awareness is the first step towards combatting the scourge of sexual violence.

"It is a problem that needs to be tackled by society as a whole. We want to give information to the public on what to do when they are faced with abuse within their families or communities."