Govt continues to focus on violence against women, children

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Pretoria – President Jacob Zuma says one of the key focus areas of crime fighting is to eradicate violence against women and children.

Delivering his sixth State of the Nation Address in Parliament on Thursday evening, Zuma said government had introduced a number of measures to respond to this challenge, including the reopening of the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Units as well as the Sexual Offences Courts.

Government last year announced that 22 sexual offences courts were to be reintroduced by the end of the current 2013/14 financial year, with specially trained officials and equipment to reduce the chance of secondary trauma for victims.

The courts will help address the growing challenge of sexual offences in the country, particularly against vulnerable groups.

The courts will feature a proper screening process to identify cases that fall within the sexual offences category; a special room where victims will testify; a private waiting room for adult witnesses; a private waiting room for child witnesses; victim support services; a designated court clerk and a court preparation programme for witnesses to prepare them for court and to provide debriefing after they have testified.

The courts will have special equipment to enable victims to identify the accused from the testifying room when required to do so.

“We thank the many NGOs that promote the rights of women and children who contribute positively to this important work,” Zuma told the joint sitting of Parliament.

He said work to make communities safer was ongoing. –