President should pay attention to FF Plus's proposals for action against gender violence

2019-09-06
Tammy Breedt

While gender violence against women keeps rising, the ANC is apparently of the opinion that more plans, task teams, slogans and summits will solve the problem.

The FF Plus wants to tell President Cyril Ramaphosa that plans alone will not work. Decisive action and feasible proposals are what is needed and the FF Plus can help the government in that regard.

In the party's Election Manifesto 2019, gender violence and violence against women and children in general were identified as leading to crisis situation in the country which must be addressed holistically.

The party is thus putting forward proposals for how to address the problem without any more delay and without the government having to spend more time and money on talks and summits in order to come up with plans that actually already exist.

The government has put together a task team to make recommendations. This task team, however, needs more funding to do its job. The FF Plus believes that it will be an unnecessary waste of time and tax money.

A few of the President's recommendations with which the FF Plus does agree include updating the register of persons who were found guilty of gender violence as well as making their names known, opposing bail to gender violence offenders, that such crimes should carry a lifelong penalty of imprisonment and that programmes must be implemented in schools to shed light on the matter.

Here are the FF Plus's recommendations as contained in its Manifesto 2019:

Background:

Most victims of rape, molestation and domestic violence are too afraid to report these incidents due to intimidation. In many cases, the police's handling of these cases falls short and victims are not offered proper protection.

The criminal justice system fails many victims as well, particularly because they are often expected to testify in an open court.

Due to the poor handling of these cases, the errors made in transferring dossiers between the police and the National Prosecuting Authority, the incompleteness of investigations, the lack of integrity of evidence and testimonies that are not handled properly or with the necessary care, the prosecution of these cases is often unsuccessful.

These shortcomings in the system cause a low report rate for these offences and, thus, many sexual offenders are on the loose and gender violence is endemic.

Solution:

  • The FF Plus supports all measures aimed at protecting women and children as vulnerable citizens against abuse and mistreatment. Measures must be implemented to encourage the reporting of gender violence and to protect victims.
  • The policing and prosecution of violence against women and children must be prioritised. The massacre of innocent children, caught in the crossfire of gangs, has reached shocking levels and the police can no longer merely promise to take action while gang violence rages on.
  • Solutions must be found for the poor policing in this regard. The solution lies in the institutionalisation of effective policing, in other words, the optimisation of all the existing processes, functions and resources to achieve the overarching goal of good policing. This does not require more and more resources, but rather the improved distribution and utilisation of resources which will result in a better outcome.
  • Investigative units must be empowered with the necessary expertise and care must be taken to ensure that the prosecution of offenders is not unsuccessful due to the incorrect handling of evidence.

The following recommendations are in addition to the abovementioned:

  • Every police station must be provided with emergency rape kits;
  • Police members must receive proper training for how to deal with cases of gender violence and rape, particularly when it comes to handling the victims;
  • A Specialist unit (like The Hawks) must be established to deal exclusively with cases of gender violence – from reporting to prosecution;
  • The criminal justice system and courts for gender violence must start functioning effectively and must apply legislation on gender violence correctly;
  • It must be ensured that there are indeed safe zones for victims at all police stations.

The President's task team should stop talking and start taking action and it must start by paying a visit to each and every police station so as to ensure that these special measures have indeed been put in place.

The FF Plus is of the opinion that we have long since reached the point where strong, decisive is needed and so the party will continue to put pressure on the government to take serious action and to stop treading water while the list of victims gets longer by the day.

 

TammyBreedt

Found this interesting? Share it!