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Police: Murder rates rise, sexual violence drops in South Africa

South African police

Murder rates in South Africa were almost 9% higher in the final quarter of 2021 than in the same period of 2020, according to police.

They’ve also presented the latest statistics on sexual violence, noting a 9% reduction in the number of reported sexual offences and 7% in reported rapes over the same period.

But such data does not give a complete picture as many victims often do not feel safe to report abuse, and campaigners say it has been difficult to track whether gender-based violence in South Africa has gotten worse during the pandemic.

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“The data sadly and problematically isn’t really that clear – and that indicates more needs to be done to collect data,” Human Rights Watch told Deutche Welle in November.

Police Minister Bheki Cele said on Friday that specialist “gender-based violence desks” will be up and running in all police stations around the country by the end of March.

MP Munzoor Shaik-Emam has described the rape statistics as “very frightening”, and other members of parliament said that South Africa is becoming even more unsafe.

The latest crime data indicates that 38% of victims of assaults with intent to do grievous bodily harm were women and children.

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