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Rapes stats down - 'not nearly enough'

19 September 2013

While South Africa recorded a 0.4% decrease in rapes and a 6.2% decrease in sexual assault in 2012/13, these crimes still remain at an unacceptably high level, says Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

Releasing the latest national crime statistics in Pretoria on Thursday, Mthethwa said that rape had dropped by 0.4% compared to the previous year and by 3.3% compared to four years ago.

The 6.2% year-on-year decrease in sexual assault followed slight increases, averaging 0.2%, over the last four years.

"Nonetheless, we want to reiterate the point that we are still unhappy and concerned about the levels of rape in the country," Mthethwa said.

He noted that up to 80% of sexual crimes took place among people who knew one another, including among family members. "What this means is that we are faced with a societal challenge, which requires a societal response."

The minister said that the vigilance and protection of communities was now central to police strategies aimed at reducing gender-based violence in the country, adding that a victim-oriented police service was important for encouraging more people to report such crimes.

He said the reintroduction of Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences units in the South African Police Service would also make a big difference in the country's response to sexual crime.

Already, based on capacity building and investment, there has been a significant increase in the number of life sentences handed down to perpetrators of such crimes.

He said the recent announcement on specialised courts by the Ministry of Justice would help to speed up the finalisation of cases involving rape and sexual assault.

SAnews.gov.za and SAinfo reporter

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