16 Days of Activism: How the Department of Community Safety Supports You
The Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, notes that as we embark on 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence over the period of 25 November and 10 December, it is important that we use this period not only as a time for action but also for meaningful reflection.
Minister Fritz said, “As a province, we are deeply affected by Gender Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF). This was recently demonstrated by the quarterly crime statistics which revealed that there were increases in attempted sexual offences (81.3%) and contact sexual offences (4.5%). To put it simply, too many in our province live in fear and are unsafe.”
Minister Fritz added, “Allow me, if you will, to paint a positive alternative. In this hypothetical scenario, your daughter or son walks home safely alone at night after visiting friends. Domestic relationships, friendships and social interactions are marked by peaceful conflict resolution and healthy debate, rather than abuse and physical harm. This is what we must aspire to and what we must achieve.”
Court Watching Brief (CWB) Unit
The Department of Community Safety is driving this change as it has tasked an official within the CWB Unit to monitor GBVF related cases and ensure that where cases are struck off the court roll due to policing inefficiencies that the necessary action is taken.
Minister Fritz said, “The Court Watching Brief Unit has created an inbox to manage complaints related to GBVF and Domestic Violence (DV). To request assistance from the Unit, please email Monitor.GBV@westerncape.gov.za.”
Between July and September 2020, the CWB Unit monitored 92 cases which were struck off the role due to police inefficiencies. Of this number, 66 were related to GBVF related. Upon compiling the report, the CWB Unit submitted it to both the National Prosecuting Authority and to the Provincial Commissioner to ensure that cases are reinstated and/or the necessary disciplinary action is taken.
Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E)
The Department is continuing with its M&E of SAPS stations in accordance with the DV Act and has created an online booklet and video on how to obtain a protection order. Please see the link to the booklet and video below.
In line with its oversight capacity, the Department has also recently concluded its report on SAPS’ compliance with the DV Act. The report found that 67% of VISPOL and 74% of detectives at the 20 stations with the highest DV caseloads, had not undergone the 5-day DVA training course. The report has subsequently been delivered to the office of the Provincial Commissioner for review.
Minister Fritz concluded, “While my Department continues to drive these initiatives, I call on residents to take every step in their power to put a stop to the scourge of GBVF and DV in our province. This includes reporting sexual offences and DV to SAPS, getting a protection order for yourself or other vulnerable people, where needed, and even helping to obtain or seeking assistance with shelters for victims of abuse.”
Useful links and contacts
- A guide for victims of domestic abuse “how to get a protection order booklet”: https://www.westerncape.gov.za/assets/domestic_violence_and_the_law_24_november_2020_0.pdf
- Know your Station Commander Booklet: https://www.westerncape.gov.za/general-publication/know-your-saps-station-commander-booklet-0
- Video on how to get a protection order: www.westerncape.gov.za/assets/protection_order_guide_1080p.mp4