Government intensifies fight against gender-based violence

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Government is intensifying the fight against Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) this year, through implementation of the National Strategic Plan (NSP) on GBV and other measures to promote the empowerment of women, says President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The National Strategic Plan (NSP) provides a cohesive framework that will guide the national response to the GBVF crisis.

The plan outlines a comprehensive strategic response to GBVF with a specific focus on violence against all women – across age, physical location, disability, sexual orientation, sexual and gender identity and national identity – as well as violence against children, and how these serve to reinforce each other.

In strengthening the plan, earlier this month, President Cyril Ramaphosa approved the amendment of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act Amendment Bill; the Criminal and Related Matters Amendment Bill, and the Domestic Violence Amendment Bill.

Delivering the State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Cape Town City Hall on Thursday evening, President Ramaphosa said the enacted legislation, which is a deliverable from the NSP on GBVF, has strengthened the criminal justice system, promoting accountability across the state and supporting survivors.

“The implementation of this legislation will go a long way to ensuring that cases are successfully prosecuted, that survivors are protected and that there are more effective deterrents in place.”

The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act Amendment Bill expands the scope of the National Register for Sex Offenders (NRSO) to include the particulars of all sex offenders and not only sex offenders against children and persons who are mentally disabled.

The Criminal and Related Matters Amendment Bill aims to address gender-based violence (GBV) and offences committed against vulnerable persons, and provides for additional procedures to reduce secondary victimisation of vulnerable persons in court proceedings.

The Domestic Violence Amendment Bill amends the Domestic Violence Act to address “practical challenges, gaps and anomalies which have manifested since the Act came into operation in December 1999”.

“We have made significant progress in reducing the backlog in DNA [paternity testing] processing, reducing it from 210,000 exhibits in April 2021 to around 58,000 at present,” President Ramaphosa said.

However, the President warned that the fight against GBV will never be won, unless “as a society, we mobilise all formations and all citizens behind a sustained programme of social action.” –

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