Mthethwa: Rapes, sexual offences declining but still too high

Despite the decrease in sexual offences and rapes indicated in the crime statistics for the 2011/2012 financial year, the figures for these crimes remained unacceptably highly.

This is according to Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa who released the national crime statistics on Thursday.

For the period under review, the sexual offences ratio decreased by 3.7%.

“One area that remains stubbornly high is around sexual offences. The decrease should be understood in the perspective, that as government we still remain concerned about the conviction rate of criminals who commit such crimes,” he said.

Rape decreased by 1.9% but was “unacceptably high”.

“We need to emphasise that as government we are, however, still concerned about the scourge of rape in our country…More resources and better training of police mechanisms are now being put in place,” Mthethwa added.

Another area of concern was that young people were now becoming the targets of criminals.

“One of the shifts we have witnessed is that although crimes against women and children are decreasing, we are now seeing a trend where young children are now being targeted and abused. We shall be intensifying the war against [the abuse of] young children to ensure that this trend is reversed,” he said.

There needed to be more awareness among parents and guardians that children needed to be looked after and protected, Mthethwa added.

Efforts to address the high number of rape and sexual offences included the re-launching of the
Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit, as well as a working relationship with the judiciary to have such cases prioritised, he said. –