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29 November 2010

DA proposes measures to curb domestic violence

The DA urged President Jacob Zuma's administration to consider implementing a range of practical measures to help curb domestic violence against women.

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The DA urged President Jacob Zuma's administration to consider implementing a range of practical measures to help curb domestic violence against women.

"We consider these to be the basics that the Zuma administration should get right if it is to help build a safer society," DA spokeswomen Denise Robinson and Debbie Schafer told a media briefing at Parliament.

There was already a raft of legislation in place, ostensibly to deal more effectively with cases of crimes against women and children.

However, their efficacy had been compromised by the lack of implementation of many of their basic provisions and often a lack of vision for much-needed supporting mechanisms that could improve the way these social problems were addressed, they said.

Chrysalis Academy

Among other things, the DA proposed that the Chrysalis Academy Model be adopted nationally.

The Chrysalis Academy, established by the DA provincial government in the Western Cape, identified youth at risk of abusive or violent behaviour and allowed them to undergo a residential programme for three months before they re-entered their communities to make a positive impact on them.

Police stations' compliance with the Domestic Violence Act should be regularly monitored. The Act, which required police officers to keep proper records of domestic violence incidents and required all officers to be trained in responding to domestic violence, should be enforced at all police stations.

The Police Secretariat should improve monitoring and enforcement, and urgently attend to necessary amendments to the Act, the most important of which should be removing the provision allowing for police to escape the sanction of misconduct for non-compliance.

After 10 years, nobody should be exempt from non-compliance, and if they had a reasonable excuse, that could be given at the disciplinary hearing.

Rape kits at every police station

Every victims of rape should be able to obtain a kit, at any police station, to provide her with the medication necessary to prevent HIV, and every police officer should know how to use these kits.

Other proposals included training volunteers as victim service workers, special measures to enforce maintenance payments, increased funding for social workers, psychologists and counsellors, both at police stations and magistrates' courts, and establishing more safe houses and subsidised shelters for victims of abuse.

"There is nowhere for these victims to go after they have reported a crime. If they return home, their lives could be endangered."

The few existing shelters did not allow children, and as such, new safe houses would have to be more accommodating to the families of abused women.

"Getting the basics right requires political will... starting at the top. Indeed, President Zuma should take the lead in this campaign and motivate other officials to implement strategies that decrease gender violence," they said.

(Sapa, November 2010)

Read more:

Domestic violence support groups

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