Sexual offences down - Mthethwa
The country's sexual offences rate had decreased but was still too high, says Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.
The country's sexual offences rate had decreased but was still too high, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said on Thursday.
The latest crime statistics show the sexual offences ratio was down by 3.7 percent.
"The decrease should be understood in perspective, that as government we still remain concerned about the conviction rate of criminals who commit such crimes," he said.
Rapes showed a decrease of 1.9 percent.
Mthethwa however conceded this was not necessarily good news, as it pointed to under-reporting by victims of sexual abuse.
"It is influenced by reporting behaviour; if victims trust the police, then you will get more reporting."
The minister said the re-instatement of the Family violence, Child protection and Sexual offences (FCS) units two years ago has yielded positive results.
The unit had helped secure 175 life sentences in cases where the victims were children.
"...The unit has secured convictions which resulted in a total of 10,345 years (behind bars) for those criminals."
One hundred and thirty-one offenders were given life sentences for targeting people over 18 years old.
"The important struggle we must continue to wage is to end violence against women; a critical part of the historic effort to change the power relations in our society."
Mthethwa said although the overall ratio of crimes against women and children were down, there was a disturbing trend emerging.
"We are now seeing a trend where young children are now being targeted and abused."
The minister said this was something police were working hard to reverse.