A new report compiled by Stats SA shows all the data surrounding crimes of assault in South Africa – where the crimes took place – and the reasons behind them.
StatsSA mined data from the Victims of Crime Survey (2014/15), in conjunction with South African Police Service (SAPS) statistics, and its own mid‐year population estimates (2014/15) and Census 2011 data.
According to Stats SA, assault is the most common contact crime in the country, and often acts as the precursor to other forms of crime, including property‐related crimes and more ‘serious crimes’ such as sexual offences and murder.
Despite this, the Victim of Crime Survey 2014/15 results indicate that assault was one of the most under‐reported crimes.
Most of the reasons cited by the victims for not reporting this crime include that they solved it themselves or did not view it as serious enough for the police to intervene.
Victimisation surveys are likely to produce higher crime estimates than police recorded administrative data because of this.
According to the report, 304,000 respondents said they had experienced assault crimes in 2014/15 – but the SAPS only received 181,000 reports, reflecting only 55.1%.
Assault in South Africa
The South African Police Service (SAPS) define common assault as:
“The unlawful and intentional direct or indirect application of force to the body of another person, or threat of application of immediate personal violence to another, in circumstances in which the threatened person is prevailed upon to believe that the person who is threatening him has the intention and power to carry out his threat”
According to the report, these are the metro cities where your chances of assault are highest:
- City of Cape Town – 38,780 cases
- eThekwini (Durban) – 20,852 cases
- City of Joburg – 14,729 cases
- Ekurhuleni – 13,196 cases
- Tshwane – 6,376 cases
- Nelson Mandela Bay – 6,376 cases
KwaZulu Natal had the highest rate of assault overall, however, followed by the Western Cape and Eastern Cape.
Profile of assault in SA
The profile of assault in the country is very different for men and women. For men, most assault cases happen on the street, while most women are assaulted at home.
Home assault is typically perpetrated by a spouse or lover out of jealousy or anger. Home assault is also the only location where an attempted rape took place, according to the report.
Street assault also showed a high number of cases where the perpetrator was known to the victim, with the main motive listed as anger. Though there was an even distribution across other motives, such as attempted robbery, jealousy, gang-related motives and money-related motives.
Perpetrators are largely between the ages of 15 and 35 – with workplace assault being the stand-out, with most perpetrators being between 35 and 54.
According to Stats SA’s findings, drugs and alcohol play a big part in assault. In 40% of all home assault cases and 33% of all street assault cases, the perpetrator is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
But the victim being under the influence is also a problem – in 65% of all ‘entertainment place’ assault cases, the victim was inebriated.
Most cases of assault have no weapon used – but where a weapon is used it’s most likely to be a knife – and there is an even split between cases where victims needed to be hospitalised or not.
In 2014, 5,249 people died from assault, the report said.
source: Business Tech