#CrimeStats reaction: Increase in violence against women & children a crisis

The figures show that of the more than 20,000 murders during the period, 20% were women and children.

Family members of slain Iyapha Yamile at the Western Cape High Court on 29 August 2018. Picture: Lauren Isaacs/EWN

PRETORIA – The increase in the number of cases of violence against women and children has been described as a crisis.

Police Minister Bheki Cele and National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole released the 2017/2018 crime stats in Parliament on Tuesday.

The figures show that of the more than 20,000 murders during the period, 20% were women and children.

Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation’s Dominique Dix-Peek says the crime trends are extremely worrying.

“There was an estimation that between 10 and 25% of sexual offenses get reported, and basically shows that we’re a country in crisis in terms of gender-based violence.”

The Institute for Security Studies' Gareth Newham says there must be better support for social services.

The stats show that 3,915 women and children were murdered in the last financial year.

Meanwhile, the African National Congress (ANC) said the latest crime statistics paint a “worrying picture” of a continuous rise in contact crime.

The party’s parliamentary caucus said while it appreciates the police’s continued efforts to fight crime, the upward trend in the murder rate, which has increased by 6.9% is a matter of grave concern.

The ANC also joins the police committee in raising serious concern over the increase in violent crimes like murder and sexual offences.

The ANC said provinces with the highest population figures such as Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape continue to be the most unsafe.

Police committee chairperson Francois Beukman said safety and security is one of the important pillars of an economically growing country and has to be prioritised.

“Judging from the statistics, it’s clear that we need a strategic intervention from the SAPS, not a mere tactical or operational response. There are two issues, I think it’s quite clear from the statistics – and it’s related to the National Development Plan – the issue of specialised units.”

The committee has reiterated its call for policing to be more intelligence-led to deal with serious and violent crime.

It also wants the use of technology as an operational tool to be urgently considered.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)