Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane says the crime stats for the first three months of 2022 paint a “horrific picture” of the extent of violence that women and children in South Africa face.
The stats show women remain vulnerable to gender-based violence (GBV), including femicide.
According to the latest crime stats, 13,799 sexual offences were reported to the South African Police Services (Saps), of which 10,818 were cases of rape.
However, the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities said that researchers, academics, and activists estimate that this figure is higher due to the increasing number of unsolved murder and assault cases still under investigation.
Nkoana-Mashabane likened this to a “shadow pandemic of violence”.
“The unfortunate reality is that there are many who continue to suffer from extreme forms of violence in silence,” said Nkoana-Mashabane.
“As a society, we often underestimate the barbaric nature of violence against women and children. If we do not act with urgency collectively, we run the risk of reversing some of the great milestones we have achieved in advancing and protecting the rights of women and children.”
Compared to last year’s stats, the total number of children murdered increased to 306, with 331 cases of attempted murder, and 1,937 cases of assault GBH.
The stats also showed that 13,305 cases of assault GBH took place in residences of the perpetrator or victim. Schools and universities also recorded 195 cases of assault GBH during the period.
A staggering 4,653 rapes took place at the home of the rape victim or at the home of the rapist. Alcohol was reported to play a role in 1,290 of these cases.
“These are not just numbers, but reflect the thousands of women and children who are victims of sexual offences. These numbers represent our people,” said Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said.