The high rate of reported sexual crimes in the Eastern Cape and the latest Victims of Crime Survey, released today by Stats SA, highlight the vulnerability of women and children in our province. It is a timely reminder for all of us to throw our full weight behind combating crimes of violence against women and children.
According to the SAPS Eastern Cape crimes statistics, 26 sexual offences were reported per day at police stations during the 2010/11 year: an all-in-all total of 9 380, which was a 2, 2 % increase over the previous year.
The Victims of Crime-survey highlight the fears and vulnerability that women in our province feel. Only 16 % of female households feel safe walking safe walking alone after dark in their area and only 40% feel safe walking along during the day.
One in four households in South Africa said they were afraid of sexual offences. One of the most startling figures reported in the survey is that 38, 4 % of victims of sexual offences were victimised by a known community member and 15, 8 % were relatives.
We need to ensure that our police stations have user friendly victim support centres, that the family violence, child protection and sexual offences units are properly resourced, that there is a speedy response by the SAPS for calls for assistance. The wheels of justice need to turn swiftly to ensure that perpetrators of crimes against women and children are speedily brought to book and that maintenance defaulter s are tracked down and dealt with.
The burden does not rest with the SAPS alone but with community organisations, churches and society as a whole.
During this period let us re-double our efforts to ensure our communities and homes of our neighbours and friends are safe for our women and children.