Fritz calls for investigation by Ombudsman after rape victim told to investigate her own complaints

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On Wednesday Minister of Community Safety in the Western Cape, Albert Fritz, called for an urgent investigation by the Police Ombudsman into a report that a rape-survivor was told by SAPS officers to investigate her own complaints when she tried to report the case at the Khayelitsha Site B Police Station.

According to the report, the woman arrived at SAPS in Khayelitsha Site B the day after she was allegedly assaulted and raped. While taking her statement the attending SAPS officers apparently told her that she “did not look like someone who had been through a traumatic experience” and that she “looked too relaxed”. The SAPS official also told the victim and her friend that they should try to “trap the suspect” and attempt to establish his whereabouts so that the SAPS could arrest him. The victim said her friend didn’t want to do this because the suspect is a dangerous man.

Minister Fritz said, “This kind of thing is happening too often. We cannot have a situation where victims of gender-based violence are treated with such disdain and disrespect by the very officers of the law that are supposed to offer protection. This incident is one of the reasons why the majority of rape victims don’t report rape cases, and this needs to end.”

“While we have already asked the Western Cape Police Ombudsman to systemically investigate the way in which gender-based violence cases are handled when reported at SAPS stations, I am also requesting the Ombudsman to investigate this particular case as a matter of urgency.”

Minister Fritz continued, “My request for this investigation to be expedited by the Ombudsman is based on the need to hold the SAPS officials in question accountable. And, if the investigation finds the allegations to be true, I will then call for disciplinary proceedings to be instituted against the said officers.”

Minister Fritz concluded, “as a Minister in this provincial government, I want to emphasise that we have zero tolerance for any forms of gender-based violence and we will act against all instances where it shows itself.”