Sexual offences upsurge 'cause for concern'

A 10,1% upsurge in sexual offences last year was cause for concern, the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) said on Wednesday in reaction to the police’s latest crime statistics.

“The CGE has noted with concern various trends of crimes that are being committed,” it said in a statement.

“The increase in sexual offences is a cause for concern and such cannot go unabated as the majority of people who suffer from this form of crime are women and children,” it said.

It urged communities to act with renewed vigour to help the police deal with sexual offences by reporting the crimes.

Also, sexual offence victims should also speak out so their attackers could be dealt with.

“The CGE calls upon all victims of gendered crimes to report those as they will be assisting society in getting rid of perpetrators ... [by putting] them in jails where they belong.

“Society should also be encouraged to report even if they are not direct victims, as we do not know who will be next ...
keeping quiet and aiding criminals is as good as being guilty of the same offence,” it said.

The commission said the relaunch of the sexual offences unit would be useful in assisting the women and children who were victims of sexual offenders.

“It is our utmost belief that together we can do more to fight crime and CGE will continue in assisting the police and other relevant bodies in ensuring that gendered crimes are addressed,” it said.

Releasing the crime figures on Tuesday, Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa said the increase in sexual offences was one of the most worrying aspects of the statistics.

It was partly to blame on a law change that broadened the definition of sex crimes to include, for example, male rape, he said.

Mthethwa said “the psychology of patriarchal power relations and inconsiderate attitudes towards vulnerable members of society, especially children” were among the factors that continue to drive the country’s high crime rate.—Sapa

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