Saturday, 26 November 2011 09:24

SOUTH AFRICA: Committee to Strengthen Oversight On Domestic Violence Laws

 

Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities says the fight against violence on women shouldn't only happen once a year as an event because it is an ongoing concern that requires attention throughout the year.


This comes as the country is getting ready to commemorate the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence, which takes place from 25 November to 10 December 2011. The Committee has noted that there is a need for a stringent oversight on the side of Parliament to ensure that the beneficiaries obtain the services they require.

The Chairperson of the Committee, Ms Dorothy Ramodibe, said that even though Parliament had passed laws such at the Domestic Violence Act, 1998; Children's Act, 2005 and Children's Amendment Act, 2007; and Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matter) Act 32 of 2007, the implementation of these laws needed to be closely monitored.

In 2009, the Portfolio Committee on Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities, in conjunction with the Select Committee on Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities, conducted public hearings on the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act since its implementation 11 years ago.

Findings from the public hearings revealed that despite the significant legislative and policy strides, an alarming number of women, children and persons with disabilities continued to be subjected to domestic violence.

Moreover, since the public hearings, the Committee has conducted oversight in various provinces in 2010 and 2011 and noted with concern that there was an increase in reported crimes against children, particularly rapes and sexual assault and overall the poor implementation of laws impacted on service delivery.

The Committee noted that government officials responsible for the implementation of the laws - that serve to protect women, children and persons with disabilities against violence, abuse, neglect and discrimination - must receive ongoing training to better understand the law and implement it effectively.

Record keeping, disaggregated by sex and age in terms of the beneficiaries of services for victims of violence and abuse, remained crucial to monitor and evaluate trends but also to identify high risk areas. Improved coordination and inter-sectoral collaboration is another vital aspect of ensuring that the laws and policies in place are implemented effectively.

To this end, the Department for Women, Children and People with Disabilities has a vital role to play in this regard. Another key function of the Department for Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities is to monitor that the aforementioned victim empowerment services are delivered to all women, children and persons with disabilities.

Source: South African Government (Pretoria, South Africa)

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