A report released by the Commission for Gender Equality on police stations’ readiness to deal with gender-based violence (GBV) has revealed an alarming rate of GBVF case withdrawals by victims, especially women.
A REPORT released by the Commission for Gender Equality on police stations’ readiness to deal with gender-based violence (GBV) has revealed an alarming rate of GBVF case withdrawals by victims, especially women.
The commission visited 66 police stations countrywide, including 13 of the 30 GBV hot spots identified between March to September last year.
Some of the reasons identified by the commission for the case withdrawals included delays at forensic laboratories, family members deciding to deal with domestic violence matters within the family, and difficulty accessing courts by victims.
“The findings depicted a common pattern where family members preferred to deal with the issue of domestic violence inside the family, thereby increasing the levels of unreported gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) cases,” the commission said.
It also noted awareness in terms of coming forward for the victims to report the cases. However, it said this high level of reporting did not translate into a high number of prosecutions, referrals and convictions.
Action Society spokesperson Kaylynn Palm said what the commission raised was precisely what happened in the field when working with GBV victims.
“Action Society supports the recommendations of the CGE, which include addressing the GBVF backlogs and providing weekly updates. In addition, to capacitate forensic laboratories, advocacy, and campaigns on the implications of withdrawing rape cases,” she said.
Ilitha Labantu spokesperson Siyabulela Monakali said the withdrawal of cases posed a significant threat in the fight towards ending GBVF as perpetrators were not brought to justice.
“We need as a country to place more effort and resources towards holistic strategies that seek to educate communities about the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide, little to no action is placed on preventative measures,” he said.
The Great People of South Africa spokesperson, Zintle Khobeni, said the lack of resources for police to be able to efficiently respond to GBVF was of concern as it negatively affects the manner in which police stations and the police were supposed to prevent and respond to GBVF.
“For a while, we have been advocating for efficient policing and resources and we are not seeing any positive response,” she said.