‘The police have failed us while our child’s innocence has been taken and she will be damaged forever.’
Durban – The police have been accused of dragging their feet in the investigation of an 11-month-old girl who was allegedly raped.
The infant, who was in the care of a child minder while her mother was at work, was alleged to have been raped in late September.
The father of the infant claimed that the suspect had presented himself to the Plessislaer police station in Pietermaritzburg for DNA testing, but was yet to be arrested.
“It took almost 20 days to collect statements from the child minder’s daughters and the male relative who were left with the child. And it took seven days to get a case number, yet we reported the incident the day after it happened.
“The police were reckless not to arrest the man when he went to the station. The police have failed us while our child’s innocence has been taken and she will be damaged forever,” said the father.
On September 28, the mother had gone to pick up the infant from the minder’s home and found her baby crying and her eyes were red.
According to the father, the child minder was not at home but her two daughters and a man were there.
“When my wife took our baby to give her a bath and took off her nappy, she found blood and semen on the nappy. She and her mother then took the baby to Edendale hospital and the doctor confirmed that our baby was raped,” said the father.
The child minder, who asked not to be named, said she has been caring for children for 15 years and this was the first time such an allegation had been made. “I was not there to see what happened. My daughters were looking after the child and the man came to see one of them. I pray that the truth will come out and whoever hurt the child be arrested.”
The parents of the infant were being assisted by the DA.
Sharon Hoosen, KwaZulu-Natal DA spokesperson on community safety and liaison said she, the provincial leader, Zwakele Mncwango, and the family went to the police station last week.
“After meeting the investigating officer we did not feel that much effort was put into the investigation to ensure that all leads were investigated.
“We will be arranging a meeting with the provincial commissioner of SAPS in the hope of ensuring that this family receives justice,” said Hoosen.
“We have identified that the officers are not fully trained to deal with emotionally abused victims and/or parents. More consideration must be given to ensure that there are more female investigating officers to deal with victims of abuse.
“If the above can be addressed, we would find more criminals behind bars than on our streets,” Hoosen added.
However, Brigadier Jay Naicker, SAPS provincial spokesperson, said they were informed that the investigating officer was in regular contact with the complainant.
“The provincial head of the FCS Unit is working closely with the investigating officer and to allow for the necessary processes to be followed during all stages of the investigation until the case is ready to be successfully prosecuted”, said Naicker.
Nozibusiso Nyawose, a clinical psychologist, said the difficulty with the trauma of rape comes with psychological effects which cannot be dealt with immediately and require intensive therapeutic intervention.
“The innocence of the child was taken,” she said.
“Usually when an infant is raped, they have been conditioned slowly into penetration. The mentality of the child changes significantly in that they feel different to other children.
“The child feels violated and damaged and this contributes to anger and behavioural changes,” Nyawose said.