South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has signed into law new pieces of legislation aimed at improving the country’s response to the scourge of Gender-Based Violence.
Gender-Based Violence is deeply entrenched in the fabric of South African fabric.
“In 2019/20, 53 293 sexual offences were reported, an average of 146 per day, up from 52 420 in 2018/19. Most of these were cases of rape. Of this the police recorded 42 289 rapes in 2019/20, up from 41 583 in 2018/19, an average of 116 rapes each day (SAPS Crime Stats),” reports Africa Health Organisation.
What’s worse, a 2020 report by Statistics South Africa, (StatsSA) titled Crimes against women in South Africa, an analysis of the phenomenon of GBV and femicide found that “[o]ne in five (21%) partnered women have experienced physical violence by a partner.”
This is what you need to know about the new pieces of legislation.
The names and information of all sex offenders will now be included in the National Register for Sex Offenders (NRSO). Previously it had been limited to child sex offenders and those who had offended against people with mental disabilities.
The duration for which the names of sex offenders remain on the sex offenders registry will be increased.
The list of persons who are to be protected will be expanded to include other vulnerable persons, “namely, certain young women, persons with physical, mental or intellectual disabilities and persons over 60 years of age who, for example, receive community-based care and support services,” The Presidency said.
· This legislation also tightens bail and minimum sentencing provisions in the context of Gender-Based Violence.
The Domestic Violence Amendment Bill also introduces online applications for a protection order against acts of domestic violence and imposes obligations on functionaries in the Departments of Health and Social Development to provide certain services to victims of domestic violence.