The fact that President Cyril Ramaphosa adhered to his 2020 State of the Nation Address (SONA) promises and amended legislation that might combat gender based violence (GBV), makes Action Society excited about tonight’s speech.
“In an effort to curb SA’s shocking statistics of violence against women and children, we believe he will entail additional plans that will protect the rights of these victims. Our highest anticipation is that he will agree to the need of special sexual offences courts to fast-track these convictions,” says Daleen Gouws spokesperson of Action Society.
Action Society suggests that court procedures, related to the prosecution of people accused of sexual offenses, should be dealt with separately from the current over-burdened court rolls. These special sexual offenses courts will fast-track hearings and have an immense impact on the current low conviction rate of 7,8%.
“Not only will these courts be more effective, it will also make the process more bearable for families. In order to stop sexual predators from repeating their crimes, victims must feel able to step forward. The timeframe between opening a case to sentencing must be shortened. Due to lack of faith in system and extensive lawsuits which often result in dockets being lost or witnesses becoming unfit to testify, victims hesitate to report a crime,” says Gouws.
According to the pressure group the first 48 hours of a case are the most critical. Victims of sex crimes want to clean their bodies and process the traumatic event as soon as possible. They cannot be advised to go home or come another day. Important DNA evidence is being lost due to incompetent police officers who often are not trained to work with trauma victims.
“As a solution Action Society is launching Action Centre’s who assists victims in creating a waterproof, rock-solid docket to present in court. This service will allow them to have access to testing labs to verify DNA information and private detectives, making the process more streamlined, accountable and effective. For the interim this offers a solution to the government’s huge backlog in DNA kits,” Gouws explains.
Action Society eagerly anticipates how government will implement action to the amendments of three key bills (to combat SA’s shocking GBV statistics) announced in September 2020.
“Our ‘Know your neighbour’ campaign’s plea were adhered to when Ramaphosa agreed that the National Register of Sex Offenders (NRSO) will be made publicly available. Our concern however is with the management and relevancy of the database. Previous issues with the vetting process resulted that it was outdated, making it useless for employers seeking NRSO clearance certificates for teachers or the social department requesting information to consider foster parents,” Gouws explains.
By means of a partnership relevant non-governmental organisations (NGO’s), like Action Society, can independently assist government in making the amended legislation a reality, as well as transforming the NRSO to an effectively managed register that is successful in protecting our vulnerable parties.
ISSUED BY: Action Society
DATE: 11 February 2020
FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES:
Spokesperson: Action Society,