Life Line Newcastle addresses severity of rape problem in Newcastle

Life Line
The number of rape victims remain at 30 to 40 cases per month.

A Life Line: In the past few months, the Newcastle Advertiser received an overwhelming number of reports of cases where woman and children were victims of rape and sexual assault.

In an exclusive interview with Life Line Newcastle Satellite Office Manager and social worker, Nokulunga Magubane, the severity of the problem within the community of Newcastle was addressed.

Magubane said counsellors at the Thuthuzela Care Centre (TCC) in Madadeni received cases of rape and assault on a daily basis.

“It is very rare that a day goes by without any cases being reported to us.”

However, she continued, said there was a clear decrease in rape cases although the root issue still remained.

“Women and children of all ages were affected, but most victims were under the age of 18 years. The number of rape survivors and cases remain on average between 30 to 40 a month, but cases involving children are still the highest number overall.”

Magubane said areas most affected by rape, sexual assault and gender based violence were Madadeni Section 7, oSizweni, Blaauwbosch, and Dannhauser.

“Lately there has been an increase of reported cases in Madadeni Section 6,” she confirmed.

Magubane stated rape cases were dealt with according to the official Acts in place, such as the Sexual Offence Amendment Act of 2007, and where applicable, other relevant laws such as the Children’s Act of 2005. The Older Persons Act of 2006 was also applied.

“Although most suspects are arrested, there are those who are not arrested nor found guilty. It depends on the investigations conducted and evidence obtained.”

According to Magubane, if found guilty of rape, the accused could spend life in prison.

“All victims of rape, sexual assault and gender based violence to report these crimes immediately,” she urged.

The process after a rape has occurred varies, depending on whether the victim reported the incident to police or not.

“Once you report the crime, you would then be taken to the TCC to access the relevant services. If started at the TCC, the police will be then summoned to take a statement from the victim and to open a case.”

Thereafter, evidence is collected and investigations commence.

“On the other hand, should other services be needed by the victim, such as a safe care facility, various other stakeholders and procedures are recommended. Once this is done, the victim is then sent to a psychologist, social worker and Victim Assistance Officer. Speak out so you can be assisted. This is a traumatic thing to go through and most people do not have a source of support. Receiving the necessary medical attention, legal assistance and counselling will not erase the incident, but the support will help them cope and deal with the after effects.”

When asked whether men also regularly reported rape cases, Magubane said only a small number of men would report being victims of sexual assault.

“We would believe it is more common than we think, but it goes unreported as there is a feeling of humiliation.”

Magubane said it was essential to report these crimes to the Thuthuzela Care Centre at the Madadeni Hospital, within 72 hours after the assault.

“Try to avoid taking a bath or shower. Also, try not to use the toilet.”

Magubane advised victims of rape, domestic violence and sexual assault to report the crime to LifeLine Newcastle Satellite Office on 033 342 4447 Ext 225.

Zianne Leibrandt

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