South Africa: Domestic Violence Amendment Act to Better Protect GBV Victims

13 February 2020

President Cyril Ramaphosa says the Domestic Violence Act is expected to be amended to better protect victims in violent domestic relationships.

Delivering the State of the Nation Address (SONA) before a joint sitting of the two houses of Parliament on Thursday, President Ramaphosa further said the Sexual Offences Act will also broaden the categories of sex offenders whose names must be included in the National Register for Sex Offenders.

"We will pass a law to tighten bail and sentencing conditions in cases that involve gender-based violence (GBV)," President Ramaphosa said.

President Ramaphosa noted that over the last six months, the nation has been galvanised across communities, government, civil society, religious groupings, the judiciary and parliament, to end the crisis of violence perpetrated by men against women.

"It has been a truly united and determined response from all South Africans. Through building social compacts across society to fight this scourge we will be able to achieve much more ... but it is only the beginning of the struggle," he said.

He said that progress has been made in several areas including the implementation of an Emergency Action Plan to deal with the scourge of GBV.

"We implemented an Emergency Action Plan and reprioritised R1.6 billion to support this plan until the end of the current financial year," the President said.

The plan focuses on improving access to justice for survivors of violence and prevention campaigns to change attitudes and behaviour.

The plan also involves measures to strengthen the criminal justice process and to prioritise the creation of economic opportunities for women who are vulnerable to abuse.

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