Gender-based and domestic violence in the Western Cape are increasing during the lockdown as a result of victims having to spend more time indoors with their abusers.
The City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for safety and security, Alderman JP Smith, told The South African that sexual offences and gender-based violence are dramatically on the rise.
“When people are cooped up in their houses, it’s common that some of them can fall victim of such crimes,” he said.
Studies have shown that most cases of domestic violence occur over weekends and more often than not is paired with alcohol abuse. With many not being able to go to work, staying at home for this prolonged period of time might offer opportunity for abusers to act out.
Sandy Schuter Flowers, Strandfontein community policing forum (CPF) chair, says while drug crimes exist in their policing precinct, domestic violence is their biggest concern.
“Domestic violence in Strandfontein is a big problem,” Schuter Flowers told News24. “In the entire community of Strandfontein and Bay View, we find partners abusing alcohol. With that the verbal abuse starts which provokes the physical abuse. On the eve of the lockdown, Strandfontein police already attended to domestic violence complaints and also on the day of the lockdown there were domestic violence complaints.”
While the sale of alcohol is banned for the duration of the lockdown, many might have acquired large amounts of alcohol before the lockdown and other cases of violence involve no alcohol at all.
Assault and sexual offenses are serious crimes and should be reported immediately. If you are the victim of abuse, contact your local police station or call the dedicated abuse hotline: 0800428428. For more information on how to get a protection order against a domestic partner, view here.