The high rate of reported sexual crimes in the Eastern Cape released by Stats SA, highlight the vulnerability of women and children in our province.

It is a timely reminder for all of us to throw our full weight behind combating crimes of violence against women and children.

According to the SAPS Eastern Cape crimes statistics, 26 sexual offenses were reported per day at police stations during the 2010/11 year: an all-in-all total of 9 380.

The Victims of Crime survey highlight the fears and vulnerability that women in our province feel. Only 16 % of female households feel safe walking walking alone after dark in their area and only 40% feel safe walking alone during the day.

One in four households in South Africa said they were afraid of sexual offenses. One of the most startling figures reported in the survey is that 38 % of victims of sexual offenses were victimized by a known community member.

We need to ensure that our police stations have user friendly victim support centres, that the family violence, child protection and sexual offenses units are properly resourced, that there is a speedy response by the SAPS for calls for assistance.

The wheels of justice need to turn swiftly to ensure that perpetrators of crimes against women and children are speedily brought to book and that maintenance defaulter s are tracked down and dealt with.

The burden does not rest with the SAPS alone but with community organisations, churches and society as a whole.

During this period let us redouble our efforts to ensure our communities and homes of our neighbours and friends are safe for our women and children.

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