We’ve written a lot about the scourge of rape and gender-based violence (GBV) in our country. Sadly, we are seeing an increase in incidents during the national lockdown to combat COVID-19. One security company is fighting GBV. It has put in place a system to help its control centre evaluate the level of risk a client is facing and tailor the response accordingly. We’ve only heard of this one example; but it’s probable that there are others. We are keen to hear what your security company is doing. You can email us on email@example.com
In this particular protocol, there are three levels of distress, with relevant actions for each level:
There is a history of incidents. Build-up is noticeable. Incidents are likely to recur.
Client’s immediate requirement: Client would like more information on her options.
What the client should do: Send an email to [named support officer at the security company].
The security company will refer the case to a relevant expert with access to medical, social, psychological and forensic experts, helplines, and shelters (in severe cases).
Client feels threatened and wants to seek refuge.
Client’s immediate requirement: Client would like preventative assistance.
What the client should do: Call the [named security company] control centre on xxx xxx xxxx for immediate assistance. Or send a WhatsApp to xxx xxx xxxx.
Client is currently being attacked and needs urgent assistance.
Client’s immediate requirement: Client needs urgent support.
What the client should do: Activate the alarm system and use a false password, if possible, or send a WhatsApp to xxx xxx xxxx. SAPS will also be contacted and the necessary steps taken.
This won’t help everyone, but it may help someone
We know that not all women who are at risk of violence in the home are clients of a security company. But many are. And this is a start.
We urge other security companies and body corporates to adopt this method in recognising and responding to domestic violence. We also urge all entities who come into contact with women at risk to support women to come forward and report incidents of physical and emotional abuse to the police – when they are ready. Reports can be made any time after the incident; they do not have to be filed instantly, if a woman is not ready. Many women don’t report rape and assault because they fear they won’t be believed, or the process of reporting the attack will be more traumatic than the attack itself. Unfortunately sometimes the incredulity happens at official level.
The more security companies, neighbours and community groups stand up to gender-based violence, with tangible actions like those listed above, the more women will feel supported and will be encouraged to report these crimes. And the more these incidents are reported, the more the police will realise the true nature and extent of this blight on our society and take more decisive actions. Our conviction rate for rape and sexual assault is pitifully low. This needs to change.
Spread the word
We encourage anyone reading this to speak to your security company and ask them to implement a similar protocol. We recommend that you share this in your community and on social media. It’s up to all of us to put a stop to violence against women.
We can help
If you have been affected by gender-based violence, either personally or because you are supporting a survivor, and you would like more information on how to secure a protection order or seek refuge, contact Simon on 086 099 5146 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a discussion in complete confidence. We are family lawyers and the safety of you and your children or other loved ones is our first priority.
- GBV Command Centre: 0800 428 428 / *120*7867# from any cell phone
- Women Abuse Helpline: 0800 150 150
- Childline: 0800 055 555
- SAPS Crime Stop: 0860 10111 / SMS Crime Line: 32211
- GBVF-related service complaints (SAPS): 0800 333 177/
- Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust: 24-hour helpline: 021 447 9762
The information on this website is provided to assist the reader with a general understanding of the law. While we believe the information to be factually accurate, and have taken care in our preparation of these pages, these articles cannot and do not take individual circumstances into account and are not a substitute for personal legal advice. If you have a legal matter that concerns you, please consult a qualified attorney. Simon Dippenaar & Associates takes no responsibility for any action you may take as a result of reading the information contained herein (or the consequences thereof), in the absence of professional legal advice.