CrimeStats | Guns killed six out of 10 women murdered by partners: ISS

Stricter gun licensing is required, says ISS.
Stricter gun licensing is required, says ISS.
Image: 123rf/ tussik13

Domestic violence ties with gangsterism for the second-leading cause of murder in South Africa, with personal arguments being the primary reason.

Almost 60% of women who are murdered by their partners are shot dead, which shows the importance of tighter controls of gun licences, says the Institute for Security Studies (ISS).

Commenting on the latest crime statistics from the police for the past financial year, the ISS said on Thursday the data showed the number of murders increased from 56 to 58 a day on average.

Over the past seven years, murder has risen by 35%. This reverses the downward trend that was evident between 1995 and 2011 during which time murder decreased by 55%.

Policing alone cannot solve South Africa’s violence, said the ISS.

"The police cannot keep children safe after school when they are vulnerable, or men from beating their wives and partners at weekends. Most murders occur on weekends, and the most frequent cause is arguments between people who know each other."

Crimes against women increased from 177,620 in 2018/2018 to 179,683 in 2018/2019.
Crimes against women increased from 177,620 in 2018/2018 to 179,683 in 2018/2019.
Image: Nolo Moima

Saying SA should place its focus on violence-prevention programmes, the ISS said: "Most violent behaviour is learnt or tolerated in the home, communities and schools where children either directly experience or witness violence."

"Many people grow up believing that violence is an acceptable way to solve disputes or assert authority. This drives much of the violence that occurs between men in public places, and at home against women."

The recent outbreaks of public violence, mostly against foreigners, are another warning sign government cannot afford to ignore. Levels of public violence in general are rising, the security analysts said.

"To address the drivers of violence in South Africa requires an increased investment in programmes proven to work." These include:

  • Positive parenting programmes,
  • After-school care programmes, and
  • Anti-bullying programmes at schools.

Evidence-based interventions that have been shown to work, the ISS said, include increasing firearm control, providing support for parents and caregivers, providing trauma counselling and support for children who experience violence, and strengthening life skills training.

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