In an effort to narrow down to community and district level the response to gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF), the government has identified 30 GBVF hotspots.

Police Minister Bheki Cele on Tuesday said the list of hotspots was compiled based on nine key variables, including the number of cases reported to the South African Police Service (SAPS) during the 2019/20 financial year.

The cases include rape, human trafficking for sexual offences, kidnapping for sexual offence, domestic violence and human trafficking.

“Figures of reported domestic violence related cases of murder, rape attempted murder with the intention to cause grievous bodily harm were also considered when compiling this list.

“The hotspots list also includes eight other variables such as calls received related to domestic violence and gender-based violence.

“Data were also included from victim support services such as Thuthuzela centres, health facilities and data from other departments, which paints the picture of GBVF in a particular area,” Cele said.

The top 30 GBVF hotspots are Delft, Mamelodi, Tembisa, Umlazi, Empangeni, Nyanga, Inanda, Temba, Khayelitsha, Kwazakhele, Alexandra, Moroka, Mthatha, Mfuleni, Plessislaer, Dobsonville, Bloemspruit, Diepsloot, Mitchells Plain, Ikageng, Osizweni, KwaMashu, Ntuzuma, Kopanong, Honeydew, Kraaifontein, Gugulethu, Orange Farm, Butterworth and Bellville.

Prevention measures

Briefing media on law enforcement during the national lockdown alert level 1 on Tuesday, Cele said the work of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on GBVF continues.

As part of the SAPS’s Integrated Sexual Offences and GBV action plan, Cele said there are proactive measures with short, medium to long-term timeframes.

“As a prevention measure, the SAPS will also continue to have sustained public awareness and community-based campaigns at the identified areas on GBVF.

“All police stations in those identified areas are expected to have a permanent desk dedicated to GBVF.  This will go a long way in ensuring victims of gender crimes are responded to by trained officers in a professional way.

“The dedicated desk will reduce the risk of ill-treatment at the hands of officers, as we have seen in some instances. These permanent desks should not be limited to the hot spots areas only, but should be a norm at all stations,” Cele said.

Victim-centric approach

Police are forging ahead with their plans of ensuring that victim friendly rooms meet all requirements and are available at all police stations.

“Police stations should have access to DNA collection kits at all times in the identified areas and beyond.

“A medium to long-term goal is addressing the GBVF case backlog, as well as relooking at cold cases.

“The capacitating of the FCS [Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences] specialised units, which handle all GBVF cases is ongoing, and so is the training of members,” said Cele.

While police action alone will not rid the country of GBVF, the Minister said SAPS will continue to strengthen its response.

“The approach must promote accountability, and ensure that all victims and survivors of GBVF have access to justice.”

He acknowledged that the identification of these hotspots does not mean that GBVF is limited only to these areas.

“This is why provinces are strongly encouraged to look at their own localised hotspots and ensure victim-centred service delivery in all corners of the country.”

The Minister reiterated that GBVF is a societal evil that must be contained at all costs.

“If we all play our part, the country will certainly combat the Coronavirus pandemic. Sadly, the same cannot be said for the second pandemic, which is at crisis levels in this country.”

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