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Most victims in the Western Cape 'made to wait' for cops' assistance

DA provincial spokesperson on social development Gillion Bosman said: “We cannot be surprised that trust in our police has eroded”. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

DA provincial spokesperson on social development Gillion Bosman said: “We cannot be surprised that trust in our police has eroded”. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Sep 9, 2020

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Cape Town - The Western Cape police ombudsman has said 71% of gender-based violence (GBV) survivors were neither informed of their right to protection nor treated with fairness and respect at most police stations.

Community safety standing committee chairperson Reagan Allen said: “We have a situation where GBV survivors are made to wait either for hours, or even overnight, before being supported” at police stations.

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Activist Lucinda Evans said a dedicated desk should be located within the community policing forums to closely work with police in the fight against GBV.

Evans also noted that the Ashton police station was the only one with a holding cell designated for LGBTQI or trans persons.

DA provincial spokesperson on social development Gillion Bosman said the police's Victim Empowerment Programme was failing to preserve the dignity and lives of survivors of abuse.

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In a recent anonymous incident, a young LGBTQI person was not afforded the opportunity to make a statement or receive support after surviving a rape.

“She was instead told by the police official to go home and not take a bath, but to return the following day,” Bosman said.

“It has also been identified that another rape survivor in Athlone remained unattended for four hours. We are also aware that only 46% of victim-friendly rooms at the police station have first-aid kits.

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“We have cases of rape survivors being refused support and a pathetic 20% of complainants interviewed in a victim-friendly room or private room,” she added.

“We cannot be surprised that trust in our police has eroded. As a result, cases go unreported and the cycle of violence is perpetuated.”

ANC provincial spokesperson on community safety Mesuli Kama said the party in the provincial legislature had welcomed every effort to assist better services by police to victims of gender-based violence.

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“It is of particular joy and interest that the portfolio committee got to hear about the importance of the provincial Department of Community Safety to support the community policing forums.

“These forums create a greater opportunity for the community and NPOs to participate in the integrated fight against GBV,” Kama said.

Deputy provincial Police Commissioner Mpumelelo Manci said that police had received and studied the standing committee’s recent report, and would evaluate the concerns highlighted.

But, Allen said he has noted the police’s attitude and commitment to the recommendations by the ombudsman, and would closely monitor the implementation thereof.

He added that as chairperson of the standing committee of community safety in the province, it was his mandate to ensure that the resolutions made during the committee were tabled with urgency, especially regarding the inefficiencies discussed, and to better capacitate victim empowerment units in the province.

Cape Argus

Related Topics:

Crime and courts

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