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High cases of rape and murder incidents at DBE schools, while some cases go unreported

High cases of rape and murder incidents at DBE schools, while some cases go unreported

Cape Town – Recent national crime statistics by the police reveal most of the reported rape and murders at educational premises occurred at public schools.

The recent statistics for quarter one of 2022/2023 (April to June 2022) shows that of the 67 cases of rape at educational premises, 53 of these were committed at public schools. Of the 19 murders at educational premises, 15 of these were committed at these schools.

During the same period, one rape and one murder had taken place at a crèche, five cases of rape had taken place at a special school, and eight cases of rape and three cases of murder took place at a tertiary education institution.

According to the report, five cases of rape reportedly took place during the three months, at educational institutions in the Western Cape.

Western Cape Education Department (WCED) spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said in 2022 (January–September), the department had 10 cases of rape reported.

During the same period last year, one case of rape was reported. These included all rape cases on school grounds: learner on learner, teacher on teacher, or teacher on learner cases, Hammond said.

“The department reports all cases of sexual misconduct to the SAPS and to the SA Council for Educators (SACE) if there is an educator involved. We also then note them on Persal, the national register of public servants. Sexual harassment, sexual assault and all other forms of abuse are simply not tolerated in the WCED,” he said.

Equal Education (EE) researcher Stacey Jacobs said, while the Department of Basic Education (DBE) has various policies and measures in place to address violence perpetrated at schools, the implementation and efficacy of these strategies vary.

Some of the department’s interventions include the National School Safety Framework (NSSF) and the Protocol for the Management and Reporting of Sexual Abuse and Harassment in Schools.

Jacobs said EE found that some senior school staff in the Western Cape were not aware of the NSSF, with the DBE not adequately monitoring the implementation of the NSSF in the provinces.

“Our work has further revealed that many schools in crime-ridden communities in the Western Cape have not received training or support on implementing this crucial framework,” Jacobs said.

“In a submission to the Task Team on Sexual Abuse in Schools, the DBE noted that there is gross under-reporting of incidences of sexual abuse experienced by learners for reasons including, but not limited to, fear of not being believed, fear of being blamed for the abuse, inability to talk about sexual matters with adults or for cultural reasons, and where a teacher is the abuser and the power relations intimidate learners into silence.”

The DBE was approached for comment but did not respond in time.

Teachers and learners can report any form of abuse to the Safe Schools Hotline on 0800 45 46 47 (toll free) for immediate assistance.

shakirah.thebus@inl.co.za

Cape Argus

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