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Crime Stats: Sexual offences decline, except in Limpopo & Northern Cape

There were more than 51,000 sexual offence cases 2015/16 financial year with 53,600 last year.

FILE: Delft residents take part in an anti-rape march. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The annual crime statistics show a decline in sexual offences in all provinces except Limpopo and the Northern Cape.

Police management has told Parliamentarians sexual offences have decreased by 3.2 percent in the 2015/16 financial year.

However, contact crimes, which includes murder, attempted murder, assault and sexual offences, have gone up by one percent.

The crime stats show that more than 51,000 sexual offence cases, which include rape and sexual assault, were reported in the 2015/16 financial year.

Last year, the figure was 53,600.

The police's Norman Sekhukhune says this follows a downward trend, which started in since 2013.

"We've observed that from 2013, this crime decreased by 6.9 percent, from 2014/15 it decreased by 5.6 percent and in the current financial year it has further decreased by 3.2 percent."

Committee chair Francois Beaukman has asked whether under reporting is behind the drop as some NGOs and researchers have questioned whether there's been a meaningful reduction.

Meanwhile, gender based organisations say the drop in sexual offences is not a true reflection because of under reporting.

People Opposed to Women Abuse's Itumeleng Moloko said, "A lot of people, rape survivors, don't report the cases because of various reasons. Because they are intimidated or there's no proper investigations from the police so for us an organisation that is not a representative of the rest of the country."

At the same time, Stats SA says it's satisfied with the accuracy and validity of the latest crime figures.

Beukman added, "We welcome the fact that Stats SA is part of the presentation this year. I think it was a matter the committee raised sharply last year in terms of their methodology, accuracy and their reliability."

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