Police stations cannot handle gender-based violence‚ research finds

Further observations revealed that the working relationship between the VSC and the police station was vague.

There was a lack of awareness-raising‚ for example through workshops – meaning many police stations did not have internal structures dedicated to dealing with gender-based violence as a special category of crime.

“[The] VSC as a structure is designed to make proactive interventions to curb gender-based violence within the community of the police station‚ but they [also] provide post-incident care‚ debriefing‚ psycho-social support‚ counselling and forensic medical support. The VSC is therefore a reactive/aftercare mechanism‚” states the report.

The report found that police stations relied on ordinary SAPS officers to handle and investigate cases of gender-based violence‚ in the same way they would handle any other crime. These officers often lacked the required training and skills‚ including thorough knowledge of the policy and legislative frameworks on gender rights‚ as well as the rights of victims of crimes.

“The study could not determine the extent to which the necessary training was being provided to ordinary SAPS officers to equip them with the skills and knowledge to handle gender-related crimes and violations of women’s rights‚” states the report.

“It was also clear that in many cases the station commanders interviewed for this study were not very familiar with some of the key provisions contained in the same policy and legislative frameworks.”

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