The Democratic Alliance Women’s Network (DAWN) in Limpopo strongly condemns the hike of gender-based violence cases in the country during the lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
DAWN has noted with concern that over 87 000 gender based violence complaints were received during the first week of the lockdown due to Covid-19.
While 87 000 complaints were received, it was also reported that at least 2 230 cases were reported to the police during the first week of the lockdown.
“It is concerning that only 2 230 cases were reported to the police while the number of complaints that were receive clearly indicate that our women and children face a daily struggle,” said DA’s Desiree van der Walt.
DAWN believes that the number might continue to escalate as many victims are unable to report their cases due to lockdown or their fear to break their silence.
“Gender-based violence (GBV) is an ever-growing problem in our country with a lack of visible policing as well as limited protection for women and children due to the fact that there are no specialised units within SAPS that deal solely with gender-based violence.
“It is clear that cases of gender-based violence should be prioritised to ensure justice for the victims and safety for those who are vulnerable.
“We reiterate our calls that the police officers should be trained to deal with gender-based violence and have a thorough knowledge of the legislative frameworks for women’s rights and the rights of children who are victims of crime,” she added.
DAWN indicated that it will write to the Provincial Police Commissioner, Lt-Gen Ledwaba for his immediate intervention to ensure that victims are protected.
“We request that an urgent update be provided in relation to the cases of gender-based violence in Limpopo that have been reported to SAPS, as well as updated figures on calls made to the national hotlines during the national lockdown. We request a detailed provincial breakdown of all complaints.”
DAWN requested that SAPS be obligated to assist victims to remove their necessary belongings from houses and be taken to places of safety or alternative addresses in these circumstances.
“During this lockdown we should ensure the safety of our most vulnerable and DAWN will continue to fight for the protection of women and children.
“We call upon women to speak up and report these cases, we also call on SAPS to deal with these matters decisively and with the necessary urgency.”