Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre To End Violence Against Women has called on the police to provide a breakdown of the figures for sexual offences released today. Said Tshwaranang’s senior researcher and policy analyst Lisa Vetten, “There are 23 separate crimes contained in the Sexual Offences Act of 2007.
Are the figures for all 23 different crimes included in this total of 68 332 sexual offences? If not, which ones have been included and which ones excluded to arrive at this number?
“In the past, before the introduction of the new act in December 2007, the police provided separate figures on rape and indecent assault. But they changed the format last year by lumping everything together into one total. It is now impossible to work out which type of sexual offence is increasing or decreasing.”
She explains that not breaking down the statistics presents another problem. In the new act, sexual offences range from rape, sexual grooming to compelled self-sexual assault (forcing someone to masturbate) to showing pornography to mentally disabled people.
“Some of these crimes are new and it is important to monitor each one of them to see if they are being reported. But when all these crimes are potentially thrown together, this is impossible,” says Vetten.
“In conclusion, this figure of 68 332 tells us very little about the state and nature of sexual offences In South Africa over the past year. We urge the police to provide more detail.”