UCT has the most cases

The Sunday Independent - - METRO - ED­WIN NAIDU

THE Univer­sity of Cape Town (UCT), one of South Africa’s top-ranked uni­ver­si­ties, recorded the high­est num­ber of cases of rape and sex­ual as­sault in­ci­dents in 2017 – nine – fol­lowed by Wal­ter Sisulu Univer­sity with seven, the Tsh­wane Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy with six, Nel­son Man­dela Univer­sity with five and the Univer­sity of Johannesburg with four. Rhodes Univer­sity and the Univer­sity of the Western Cape each re­ported two in­ci­dents.

The Univer­sity of the Wit­wa­ter­srand, the Cape Penin­sula Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy, the Durban Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy, North West Univer­sity, the Univer­sity of Pre­to­ria and Unisa each re­ported one.

An­other in­ci­dent was re­ported last week, when a stu­dent was al­legedly raped at Wal­ter Sisulu Univer­sity, re­sult­ing in a stu­dent boy­cott of classes in protest against the lack of safety on the cam­pus.

In re­sponse to the cri­sis, Univer­sity of Cape Town spokesper­son Eli­jah Mo­holola said: “UCT is com­mit­ted to fight­ing this scourge and, as an in­sti­tu­tion, we recog­nise our re­spon­si­bil­ity in deal­ing with and elim­i­nat­ing sex­ual as­sault and rape on cam­pus.”

Mo­holola added that UCT had es­tab­lished the sex­ual as­sault re­sponse team, a mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary group of pro­fes­sion­als, to ad­dress the cul­ture of rape and gen­der dis­crim­i­na­tion. The Of­fice for In­clu­siv­ity and Change (OIC) was also im­ple­ment­ing pro­grammes for gen­der-based vi­o­lence pre­ven­tion and sex­ual as­sault case man­age­ment.

One of the OIC’s first mea­sures was the de­vel­op­ment of a spe­cialised sex­ual of­fences court at UCT, he said.

The Stu­dent Well­ness Ser­vice also pro­vided psy­cho­log­i­cal sup­port for stu­dents and the hu­man re­sources depart­ment ar­ranged trauma sup­port and coun­selling for staff.

Univer­sity of Pre­to­ria spokesper­son Rikus Del­port said ev­ery stu­dent and staff mem­ber had the right to feel se­cure, both on and off cam­pus.

“We are con­tin­u­ally look­ing at ways in which we can im­prove our sup­port, es­pe­cially sup­port of sur­vivors, when such in­ci­dents oc­cur. Most of our cam­puses and res­i­dences are ac­cess-con­trolled and have 24-hour se­cu­rity.

“We have ap­pointed a for­mer po­lice sergeant, with about 16 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in sex­ual as­sault and rape cases, to as­sist stu­dents and staff.

“As soon as a case is re­ported, the of­fi­cer will im­me­di­ately as­sist the vic­tim by ac­com­pa­ny­ing her or him to the clos­est des­ig­nated cri­sis cen­tre at a hospi­tal. The of­fi­cer, to­gether with the univer­sity will sup­port the vic­tim through­out the process, in­clud­ing open­ing a po­lice case, get­ting a psy­chol­o­gist in­volved and pro­vid­ing any other as­sis­tance,” he said.

Del­port added that once a po­lice case had been opened, the univer­sity would launch its own dis­ci­plinary process, in­de­pen­dent of the po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion, and a find­ing would be made in ac­cor­dance with its poli­cies and pro­ce­dures. De­pend­ing on the na­ture of the in­ci­dent, the ac­cused would be sus­pended im­me­di­ately, pend­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion. |

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