How To Make A Police Report For A Rape Or Sexual Gender Based Violence Offense?

MANY a time, survivors of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) or rape find themselves between a rock and hard surface after a rape crime would have been perpetrated against them. Due to information gaps, some rape survivors fail to take the necessary post rape procedures and keep the rape a secret leading to some health complications.

It is imperative to note that in as much as rape or SGBV is a crime, it is first and foremost a health emergency. Thus, survivors are advised to seek emergency health services within a period of 72 hours to avoid contracting Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), HIV and Unwanted pregnancies from the rape. Survivors also need professional counseling and psychosocial support to enable them to cope with the trauma and mental health complications that come with rape.

In Zimbabwe the Adult Rape Clinic (ACR) is present at various health institutions where they offer post rape counseling and treatment to survivors. After this would have been said and done, one can now proceed to make a police report with any nearest police station.

Many might not know the procedures to take when one is making a police report related to a rape or an SBGV offense. To clarify on the processes and procedures one should take after rape, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Victim Friendly Unit (VFU) National Coordinator, Chief Superintendent Jessie Banda takes us through the steps one should take in the article below.
What Channels Can One Take To Report An SGBV or Rape Crime?

Chief Sup Banda: In the ZRP, we have got four ways that a person can make a report with the Police. In the ZRP we have got around 289 Police stations and each and every one of those police stations have got a Victim Friendly Unit (VFU). We are found at every police station and in some cases at some posts depending on the extent of the cases in that area.

Phone Call Reporting: When a person has fallen victim to a case of SGBV, its either they can phone the police or their nearest police station. It is important that people have phone numbers of their nearest police stations. So when they phone usually, the phones are managed throughout. We have got other phones like at Harare Central Police station where we have got the Harare Operations, that one is manned throughout and anyone can phone from anywhere and they will always pass on the information. That’s one way of making a report to the police. Usually, people who phone are those with Domestic Violence cases, they phone immediately after the abuse happens or they have fallen prey to robbers. You know there are those robbers who robe and after robing, they go on to do a sexual act.
Physical Reporting: Another method of making a rape or SBGBV report is that you physically go to the Police station. In all this, the police are guided by their standards which are in the service chatter and in which the office of the Press and Public Relations are very much aware of and they are the ones who usually sell the service chatter to the people so that you know exactly what to expect when you phone, you exactly know what to expect when you go to a police station.
The Charge Office: So, the first port of call when you go to make a police report is the Charge Office. That is your first point of call. In the Charge Office as a victim, you are not expected to say much in the charge office. Our aim there is to ensure that those who come to make cases of Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV) are not attended to in the charge office but they are moved to another office.
Anonymous Reporting: So another way of making a police reporting is by doing it anonymously. This can be done through suggestion boxes or a person can just phone and they don’t say even their name or any specific details but they just tell you that at House Number so and so there is this child whom I believe is being sexually abused. We take that seriously as well, some people they don’t want to be known so they either phone anonymously or they write anonymously. The reason we take those seriously is because sometimes when these anonymous letters are written, at times they are written by the victim herself or they are written by a member of the family who is not in agreement with whatever is going on.

(4.a) Another way the reports come to the police is through various agencies like Musasa Project, the Hospitals, the schools and wherever we have these organizations working in the same field, they can report to us as well. We have a very good communication relationship and we share information, they will always make a report to the police. So a person may just find or choose a method which is most comfortable to them. The most important thing is that a report should be made. In areas where resources such as transport or bus fare is a challenge, it is always advisable to report to the police first as they would also assist the victim with transport to go to the hospital to get emergency treatment.

Does Location Matter When Reporting A Rape Or SGBV Case?

Chief Sup Banda: You can make an SGBV or rape police report from anywhere. If you go to police station and an officer tells you that they don’t take cases that wouldn’t have occurred in their jurisdiction, know that it is a dereliction of duty. It is not about where you stay, it is about where the crime has occurred that determines where it is going to go.

By this, I mean you can go to any police station, it does not matter where the offense occurred. Any police station which is nearer to you, you can go and make a report at any time of the day. If the offense occurred in Braeside and you live in Chitungwiza and then maybe you were not able to report it at Braeside because maybe a well-wisher took you to Chitungwiza, you go and make your report at Chitungwiza. The case will still be referred back to Braeside.

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