Cele vows a more sensitive approach to sexual abuse victims

Cele explained that officers often don’t understand how they have to treat abuse victims, making them double victims.

Police Minister Bheki Cele has highlighted the need to provide police with training to handle cases of abuse against women and children with sensitivity at the front desk to avoid case withdrawals, among other issues.

The minister said this when police appeared before the Portfolio Committee on Police to give a report on crimes against women and children at the Old Assembly on Wednesday, Northglen News reports.

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Cele said he has consulted the police top brass to look at ensuring that female officers are the ones tasked with taking statements from victims of abuse at the front desk.

“Sometimes police don’t understand how they have to treat [victims of abuse] and sometimes they make them double victims. They are a victim already. You go to the police station and they tell you to go [home] and negotiate. Usually, if you go and negotiate, you come back for the second time and the third time. Women don’t come back and by that time, they are dead (sic).

“These are the things that all of us in the system really need to understand. So the training part of it I will always accept, the figures I will always accept but the sensitivity of the work, hence I said to the management, why don’t we get more women to deal with these [cases] at the front desk,” he said.

Cele added that progress was being made in tackling sexual offences cases against women and children and that 600 perpetrators have, over the last financial year, been sentenced to life for sexual offences.

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