reconciling the social cohesion broken by sexual crimes

Anroux Marais MPL

DA Western Cape spokesperson for Social Development

As expected, the media frenzy and public outrage surrounding the plague of violent sexual crimes diminishing the social cohesion in South Africa is slowly subsiding. Despite the decreasing coverage, sexual crimes are still a reality. A reality which affects each and every citizen in South Africa as it can happen to you, a family member or friend and the chances are strong in South Africa that it will.

In a Standing Committee meeting held 27 February 2013, together with RapeCrisis, the Department of Social Development (DSD) presented the situational analysis of reported sexual offences in the Western Cape. Recent South African Police statistics (April 2011 – April 2012) indicate that the Western Cape had the fourth highest number of sexual offences nationally, with a total number of 9153 reported cases.

Bringing it closer to home, police stations recording the highest numbers of reported sexual offences of all kinds combined from April 2011 – 2012, are

* Delft – 269 * Khayelitsha – 284 * Mfuleni – 249 * Nyanga – 347 * Gugulethu – 247 and * Mitchell’s Plain with 476.

These numbers are alarmingly high and awareness thereof should continuously be driven and not only when it is “trendy” to do so.

DSD elaborated on their Victim Empowerment Programme and the focus for 2013/2014. The primary aim of the Victim Empowerment Programme is to design and implement integrated programmes and services to support, care and empower victims of violence and crime, with a specific focus on women and children. The DSD clarified that there has been a lull in the Victims Empowerment Programme due to capacity constraints but emphasized that they will be driving the programme full steam ahead.

The Standing Committee on Community Development will constantly monitor the development of this programme, amongst others, as it has a significant role to play in the fight against violent sexual crimes. This will be done by requesting the DSD to brief the committee on Parenting Programmes, Safe Homes and the empowerment of social workers in the province. It will also be beneficial to have briefings from the Provincial Victim Empowerment Forum pertaining to the Justice and Supervision Systems, the Local Child Protection Unit presenting on the programmes and the Gender Justice Forum to elaborate on their activities.

In a collective effort to proactively and continuously raise awareness on eradicating sexual offences in the Western Cape, all committees in the social cluster of the Western Cape Provincial Legislature will redress the issue by working together to reconcile a broken society and create a caring one, one which supports and strengthens family and fosters social cohesion.

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