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Cops fail domestic violence victims

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REUTERS

File picture - Police should have no more excuses for their disregard of the Domestic Violence Act (DVA), National Assembly police committee acting chairwoman Annelize van Wyk said. REUTERS/Truth Leem

Parliament, Cape Town - Police should have no more excuses for their disregard of the Domestic Violence Act (DVA), National Assembly police committee acting chairwoman Annelize van Wyk said on Tuesday.

“Year after year, we beg (the) SAPS (SA Police Service) for figures, but not only figures; we need to know why there's this high level of non-compliance,” she said during a presentation by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) to the committee.

MPs from various parties insisted on answers from the police, not excuses.

“This act has been there more than a decade and we still find a lack of understanding of the DVA. You are not telling us what you are going to do,” said Congress of the People MP Mluleki George.

MPs argued that police officers had received the proper training, but that the DVA was seen as an administrative burden.

“Your workshops were a waste of money. IPID needs to tell us why you have failed miserably,” Van Wyk said.

Police secretary Jenni Irish-Quobosheane said new monitoring systems had been put in place, but there was no magic wand to fix the problem.

“I don't think there is a single reason for non-compliance,” she said.

The perpetration of violence on women could be linked to the police.

Irish-Quobosheane agreed with MPs that a culture of silence surrounding acts of domestic violence was evident at police stations.

Democratic Alliance MP Dianne Kohler-Barnard called on Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to intervene.

“The percentage of stations which are fully compliant with the DVA remains ridiculously low. Of the 263 stations visited during this reporting period (July 2011 to March 2012), only 14 percent were fully compliant with the DVA,” she said.

IPID head Francois Beukman blamed the police for not acting on recommendations, which included training and taking disciplinary action against officers who did not comply.

The DVA was passed in 1998.

IPID was presenting the former Independent Complaints Directorate's (ICD) last report on police compliance with the act to the committee.

The civilian secretariat for police took over the responsibility of monitoring compliance from April 1.

The IPID report, which is based on audits done at selected police stations, showed high levels of non-compliance. - Sapa


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