DURBAN – The national lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the Coronavirus saw the rapid rise of gender-based violence (GBV) incident by about 500 percent.
In the first three weeks of the nation lockdown, call centres had received approximately 120 000 calls. As the country was eased in level 3 of the national lockdown, the GBV numbers have continued to increase at an alarming rate.
However, to help combat GBV, three new bills will be introduced to Parliament at the end of August 2020. The Criminal and Related Matters Bill, the Domestic Violence Amendment Bill and the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Bill are meant to curb GBV and strengthen the response to GBV in the country. These Bills have been draft by the Department of Justice.
During the meeting of the National assembly Programming Committee, which occurred on Thursday, July 2, Veronica Mente EFF MP asked Thandi Modise, the National Assembly’s Speaker, to follow up on why the bills have not been introduced to Parliament, yet. Masibulele Xaso, the National Assembly’s Secretary, stated that a bill on domestic violence will be introduced to Parliament this month while the other 2 bills will be introduced at the end of August 2020.
There 3 bills that will be introduced to Parliament are:
• The Criminal and Related Matters Bill will introduce stricter bail and sentencing provisions
• The Domestic Violence Amendment Bill will seek to address the gaps in the current Domestic Violence Act which came into operation in 1999.
• The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Bill will attempt to extend protection victims of GBV and introduce sexual intimidation and incest as a new offence.
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