Rape kit availability crisis worse than initially reported

Issued by Bobby Stevenson, MPL – DA EC Shadow MEC for Safety and Security
15 Aug 2019 in Press Statements

The crisis around the availability of Rape Kits in the Eastern Cape is far worse than initially reported, with only 20 police stations of the 197 in the province actually equipped to take DNA evidence in cases of sexual assault.

Worse, only five stations across the entire province are equipped with pediatric rape kits. This crisis of the availability of rape kits in the Eastern Cape needs to be dealt with immediately and any procurement bottlenecks need to be unblocked with urgency and speed.

Even more shocking, in fact almost unbelievable, is that while there is a severe shortage of supply at the stations, with just 4,099 kits out of the required 20,000 available for the province, the bulk of these kits are sitting in the Provincial Head Office.

Out of the 1,457 adult rape kits, 610 are at the Provincial Head Office and of the 2,642 pediatric rape kits available, 2,564 are in the Provincial Head Office. This is based on the analysis of the information obtained by my colleague, Shadow Minister of Police Andrew Whitfield, MP.

See EC Stats as supplied by SAPS attached here.

These rape kits need to be sent out to police stations as a matter of urgency.

This is women’s month and these kits should be available to ensure that the correct evidence can be obtained when victims report these heinous crimes. We cannot allow rapists to go unpunished when these kits should be made available at every single station in this province.

I have already submitted questions to the MEC of Safety and Liaison in regard to this matter, and together with my colleague, Andrew Whitfield, in the National Assembly, and the DA Women’s Network (DAWN), we will continue to fight for the rights of all victims in this province so that their perpetrators can be brought to justice.

I intend raising this matter later on today in the Legislature budget debate on the Department of Safety and Liaison.