South Africa: Police to Embark On Virtual Campaign Against GBV

Police Minister Bheki Cele says the department will embark on a virtual media campaign to educate communities on the police's response to reported gender-based violence cases.

He said this when he outlined spending priorities for the men and women in blue during a virtual sitting of the National Assembly on Friday.

Cele said police are supportive of initiatives that are aimed at improving access to support services for survivors through victim-centric criminal justice services.

"As part of the Women's Month activities, the department together with provincial departments will embark on a virtual media campaign to educate communities on SAPS response to reported GBV cases.

"The aim is to empower communities on understanding the reporting process, assistance provided by the various entities within the criminal justice system and what to do if they are not satisfied with the response provided by the police.

"The Civilian Secretariat for police service is currently planning to roll out a school-based gender-based violence programme which is aimed at empowering learners as gender-based violence ambassadors."

Cele said the National Community Police Consultative Forum would, in this regard, participate in a pilot project aimed at removing barriers to the reporting of gender-based violence and assist to mobilise communities for early interventions to address gender-based violence.

Police are in the process of signing a service level agreement with the Department of Social Development to avail enough safe houses for victims of crime and to avail social workers as an additional resource in this regard.

"The tide must change on how we respond to gender-based violence matters. The victims of gender-based violence should not be the ones forced to flee their homes to seek for places of safety.

"Chairperson, it is time we turn things around and force abusers to be the ones who are cast out of their homes and not the victims," he said.

Family violence, Child protection and Sexual offence units to get a boost

Cele said, meanwhile, that in responding to gender-based violence, the SA Police Service has prioritised the resourcing of the family violence, child protection and sexual offence units and other related mandates.

He said during the 2020/21 financial year emphasis will be placed on the units and gender-based violence. He said R15 million will be prioritised towards the direct resourcing of goods and services, vehicle procurements as well as other equipment.

"Family violence, child protection and sexual offence units continues to secure harsh sentences and multiple life imprisonments for GBV-related cases"

Cele said there has been significant progress in the capacitating of family violence, child protection and sexual offence units across the country.

Efforts have been made to get more females to work in the units, which are the first point of call for many women who are victims of domestic violence.

Cele said, meanwhile, that to date 312 of the 4971 trainee Constables who have completed their specialised training have been identified for placement at the 185 family violence, child protection and sexual offence units across the country.

"Of the current investigation capacity within family violence, child protection and sexual offence units, 148 have been trained on the family violence, child protection and sexual offence learning programme.

"To this end, the Civilian Secretariat for police service regularly monitors and evaluates SAPS implementation of gender-based violence related policies and legislation.

"Currently, the department is monitoring implementation of the Domestic Violence Act and of the Sexual Offences Act by the police. The aim is to assist the SAPS to improve its response mechanisms to reported incidents of gender-based violence."

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