Help protect women, children by commenting on three bills open for amendment, Newsline

Cape Town – Care Protect Invest – South Africa (CPI SA) and the portfolio committee on justice and correctional services have urged the public to participate on three bills aiding in the protection of women and children that are open for amendment.

The 2019/20 crime statistics released in July painted a grim picture of the state of violence against women and children in South Africa – with the Covid-19 lockdown exacerbating the issue – and CPI SA is calling on the public to help make a difference by the closing date of October 9 by commenting and writing submissions to support the proposed amendments.

The Domestic Violence Amendment Bill, Criminal and Related Matters Amendment Bill of 2020 and the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Bill of 2020 aims to strengthen laws against GBV.

Dinah Bronkhorst, the executive head of CPI SA, said: ’’We are pleased that Parliament realises how important it is to have these bills as exhaustive as possible to protect the vulnerable members of our society.

“No act of violence against a child, woman or elderly person is acceptable. These actions should carry the severest punishment possible for perpetrators.

“However, when the community takes responsibility by reporting on suspicious behaviour, we protect them against extreme acts of violence.”

These three Bills are open for written submission and public comment on Parliament’s website.

Domestic Violence Amendment Bill

The Domestic Violence Amendment Bill is intended to amend and insert certain definitions; further provide for the manner in which acts of domestic violence and matters related thereto must be dealt with by certain functionaries, persons and government departments; and further regulate obtaining of protection orders in response to acts of domestic violence.

The bill also deletes and amend provisions of certain laws and provides for matters connected therewith.

Criminal Matters Amendment Bill

The purpose of the Criminal Matters Amendment Bill is to amend, among other things, the Magistrates Courts Act, 1944, so as to provide for the appointment of intermediaries and the giving of evidence through intermediaries in proceedings other than criminal proceedings, the oath and competency of intermediaries, and the giving of evidence through audio-visual link in proceedings other than criminal proceedings.

It also aims to amend the Criminal Procedure Act so as to further regulate the granting and cancellation of bail; the giving of evidence by means of closed circuit television or similar electronic media; the giving of evidence by a witness with a physical, psychological or mental disability; the appointment, oath and competency of intermediaries; and the right of a complainant in a domestic-related offence to participate in parole proceedings.

Criminal Law Amendment Bill

The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act Amendment Bill aims among other things to extend the ambit of the offence of incest, introduce a new offence of sexual intimidation; further regulate the inclusion of particulars of persons in the National Register for Sex Offenders; make provision for certain particulars of persons who have been convicted of sexual offences to be made publicly available; and further regulate the removal of particulars of persons from the National Register for Sex Offenders.

The bill further regulates the reporting duty of persons who are aware that sexual offences have been committed against children.

The public must indicate their interest in making a verbal presentation.

Enquiries must be directed to V Ramaano and submissions must be emailed to Gbvbillss@parliament.gov.za

Copies of the bills may be obtained from V Ramaano on telephone 021 403 3820 or 083 709 8427, www.parliament.gov.za or https://www.parliament.gov.za/calls-submissions-nominations.

CPI SA is a non-profit organisation involved with uplifting communities through care initiatives such as food parcel distribution, foster homes, daycare centres and care homes.

It protects the vulnerable by transforming children’s courts to child-friendly environments, offering counselling and trauma support for sexually abused children and feeding programmes.

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