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New model for sexual offences courts adds support for survivors

Written by: Elizabeth Kgabane

The new model implemented for the administration of sexual offences courts (SOCs) will increase support for survivors of rape and other sexual crimes tackling issues that have previously lacked care for gender-based violence (GBV) survivors.

The model will among its offerings provide GBV survivors with court preparation services, intermediary services, private waiting rooms for adult and child victims, closed court services as well as pre- and post-trial trauma debriefing services.

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development spokesperson Chrispin Phiri says more SOCs are planned to be built, reaching the 100th SOC by the end of the fiscal year and that the Domestic Violence Act will be reviewed.

A review of the Domestic Violence Act, the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act, in relation to the register of sex offenders, and legislation pertaining to the Criminal Procedure Act to tighten bail and sentencing provisions for perpetrators of gender-based violence, have been prepared. And the department will undertake a process of consultation before the draft legislation will be taken to Cabinet to approve its introduction in Parliament in the first half of this year.

Chrispin Phiri, Spokesperson - Department of Justice and Constitutional Development

Rethabile Mosese, senior staff attorney for Lawyers Against Abuse, says having prosecutors dedicated to dealing with cases of rape and other sexual crimes will help in creating survivor-centred SOCs.

The court in itself is intimidating so the new model will help elevate that. And Having dedicated prosecutors at SOCs will improve prosecution as this will mean these cases will be handled by prosecutors who understand the trauma suffered by the victims and specialised prosecution will come into play.

Rethabile Mosese, Senior staff attorney - Lawyers Against Abuse

Tonight all eyes are on the State Of The Nation Address for further plans lined up to tackle GBV.




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