New Gender Based Violence Laws for South Africa
Gender Based Violence
The debate of Gender Based Violence (GBV) has been continuing for many years. During the nationwide lockdown, we have seen an increase in GBV, including but not limited to rape, assault, domestic violence and many other specific acts of violence against women and children, in particular.
GBV can take various forms, such as physical assault, emotional or psychological assault and sexual assault. South Africa has one of the highest statistics of rape and domestic violence than other countries, and as a result, the laws need to be strengthened to protect women and children.
New laws on GBV
On Monday, 7 September 2020, President Ramaphosa had issued a statement advising South Africa that they will be tightening the GBV laws in the Country.
There are currently three amendment Bills in the pipeline to fill the gaps that allow some perpetrators to evade justice. Further, the rights of women and children need to be upheld and always protected.
Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act 32 of 2007
The first amendment being considered is in terms of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act 32 of 2007. The amendment of this Act would create a new offence of sexual intimidation. It will further broaden the offence of incest for the protection of all persons involved.
In terms of the amendment, the duties of a person to report a suspicion of a sexual offence being committed against a child has been extended, and allow for a greater element of reporting such crimes.
There will also be a public register for sex offenders with all their particulars being open to the public.
Criminal Matters Amendment Bill 2020
The second amendment deals with amending the Criminal Procedure Act in relation to the regulation of the granting of bail and placement of persons on parole where such person has been convicted of an offence against vulnerable persons.
The Bill will, amongst other things, will tighten the granting of bail to perpetrators of GBV and femicide, and expand the offences for which minimum sentences must be imposed.
Domestic Violence Act 116 of 1998
The third Act being amended is the Domestic Violence Act 116 of 1998. The definition of domestic violence will now be amended to cover those in engagements, dating, in customary relationships, and actual or perceived romantic, intimate or sexual relationships of any duration.
The Bill also extends the definition of ‘domestic violence’ to include the protection of older persons against abuse by family members.
This article is not intended to provide legal advice. This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. This article is based on research regarding laws and may be subject to change. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE).
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