Sep 2020 2nd edition

Court support for GBV victims

Written by More Matshediso

If you have suffered gender-based violence (GBV) and are in need of support at court, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has a specialised service to assist you.

The Ke Bona Lesedi Court Preparation Programme is available at most Sexual Offences Courts and other courts that deal with GBV. Ke Bona Lesedi means ‘I see the light’ when translated from Setswana. 

A GBV victim can submit a request to the NPA for assistance. The senior public prosecutor or court preparation manager will then identify an appropriate court preparation officer to assist. 

“The service does not promise a particular outcome in the case and each individual’s experience is unique. Nonetheless, it assists with empowerment and restoring the victim’s dignity,” says a statement from the NPA. 

There are 161 court preparation officers at various courts across the country. 

The service is one of various initiatives introduced by government to deal with the scourge of GBV. 

According to the NPA, the complainant, victim, survivor or witness will be contacted by a court preparation officer from the court where she or he will testify. 

The court preparation officer will be available to support the complainant at court and throughout the trial. Specialised tools and techniques are used to visually show the victim that she or he is heard, protected and respected. 

Complainants can speak in their own language and the court preparation officer will ensure that the victim is referred for counselling or therapy, to complete their healing journey. 

Many women and children who have suffered GBV, for example, rape, are anxious about going to court to testify and relate intimate details of events in front of strangers. This service will help them feel more at ease.

You can contact the court preparation manager/coordinator in your province by calling or emailing the contacts below:

Other important contact numbers to keep:

  • SAPS Emergency Service: 10111
  • GBV Command Centre: 0800 428 428 or dial *120*7867# from any cellphone.
  • Persons with disabilities: SMS ‘help’ to 31531
  • Women Abuse Helpline: 0800 150 150
  • Childline South Africa: 0800 055 555 
  • SAPS Crime Stop: 0860 10111 or SMS  32211
  • GBVF-related service complaints (SAPS): 0800 333 177/
  • Domestic Violence Helpline: 0800 150 150 
  • AIDS Helpline: 0800 012 322
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