Your companion, through the good and the bad

Your companion, through the good and the bad
07 Sep 2021

Professional help 24/7

In this article, we give a brief overview of the latest crime stats, guidance on reporting a crime and obtaining a protection order. We also provide you with information on our services to assist you with dealing with emotional trauma and seeking medical advice and emergency medical response.

Our current circumstances

On 20 August 2021, Police Minister Behki Cele provided our nation with stats that showed a disturbing increase in crime. While almost all crime categories saw an increase, the most concerning spike was in rape and sexual assault. Initially, the COVID-19 lockdown had a positive effect, decreasing our overall crime rate to almost zero murder cases – following the sharp U-turn.

The crime stats at a glance

These stats are inflated due to the comparison to the very low crime rate over the initial lockdown. However, in general there has been an increase even against the previous period of 2019. A 66.2% increase in murder, 92.2% increase in passenger vehicle hijackings and 33.4% increase in residential robberies leave you feeling despondent, nervous for your and your family’s safety and even traumatised. The 74.1% increase in sexual offences is a truly debilitating plight on our community. The mental, emotional and physical scars that rape and other sexual offences leave on victims and their loved ones can follow them for life.

With these stats being released in Women’s Month, we are acutely sensitive to how difficult this type of crime is on South Africa. With 10 066 rapes and a further 1 900 sexual assaults being reported, it is particularly worrying that a substantial sample of rapes showed that 69% of rape incidents took place at the home of the victim or the home of the rapist; and 487 rape cases were domestic violence related.

As the Minister concluded in his speech, The ‘Crime Holiday’ is long gone and these figures should action us and strengthen our resolve. At Legal&Tax, we ask ourselves what we can do to be there for you?

Knowing your rights when reporting a rape

The rape statistics recorded by the police cannot be taken as an accurate measure of either the extent or trend of this crime. A 2006 Lancet report estimated that eight out of nine rapes go unreported. A 2014/15 Africa Check factsheet indicates that as few as one in 13 rapes are reported to the police.

Rape and the process to report it

As your legal companion, we believe in ensuring that your rights are consistently upheld. Sadly, reporting a rape can prove to be difficult if one does not know the process.

It is sometimes difficult to receive the correct help when you have been sexually assaulted. We provide a short guide that can help you.

A guide to reporting rape and sexual assault at a police station

  • Go to a police station nearest to where the rape took place. No survivor may be turned away simply because the rape took place a long time ago or in the area of another police station. They will open a case and then refer the case back to the area nearest to the crime for investigation. It is advisable to report the rape as soon as possible to give the police the best chance of gathering evidence.
  • You can ask to be seen in a private room at the police station and to give your statement to a female police officer.
  • A brief statement should be taken first and translated into your own language. If you are not in a state to have a full statement taken, the investigating officer will make an appointment with you for the following day or within 36 hours.
  • You have a right to be treated with respect and to complain if this does not happen.
  • The police will take you to a medical facility for medical or forensic treatment. These medical units are called Thuthuzela Care Centres.

Click here to view the complaint process should you ever be treated unfairly or unlawfully by a police officer.

Obtaining a protection order

With such a large proportion of rapes linked to domestic violence, we have prepared a domestic violence guide. This will help you with  information on obtaining a protection order and the contact details of various organisations that can help you when you are being victimised, such as People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA), an organisation we at Legal&Tax are very proud to support.

If you need legal advice you can speak to one of our legal advisors, who can guide you through the process and assist you with any queries.

Seeking medical assistance for the trauma

If you are ever sexually abused or assaulted it is very important that you seek immediate medical attention. Our Trauma Assist benefit offers our members 24/7 assistance, and if need be you can request an ambulance to assist you and provide emergency medical transportation to a suitable medical facility.

You may be struggling to deal with the ongoing emotional trauma of having experienced a sexual assault. You may even be a family member of someone who has been assaulted and is struggling with the grief of what happened to your loved one. Our Trauma Assist service provides access to a trauma counsellor who will help you work through the trauma.

Article sourced from Legal&Tax.

With Legal&Tax you’re not alone

We are here to support you, with legal advice, trauma assistance and medical advice through our partners at ER24.

See also:

(This article is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. For more information on the topic, please contact the author/s or the relevant provider.)
Darren Cohen
Darren Cohen

Darren Cohen is a General Manager at Legal&Tax. Read more about Darren Cohen


Criminal Law articles by

Criminal Law articles on GoLegal