Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola has appealed to communities to support victims of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in order to break the stigma around GBV.
At the recent opening of the Sibasa Sexual Offences Court in Limpopo, Lamola urged society to work with government in rooting out GBV where it takes place. “We must make sure that there is no perpetrator of GBV who escapes the hands of justice due to victims not getting adequate support.
“It is sad when some victims do not attend court due to fear of being shamed by members of the community. We must reach out to all victims and support them,” Lamola said.
The Minister said societies need to return to the principles of ubuntu and morality to create safe environments for women. He committed that government will continue to work hard to ensure that those who brutalise women and children are punished.
Lamola explained that Sexual Offences Courts provide victim-centric services and they aim to reduce secondary victimisation.
Avhamboni Mutangwa, who is a local resident, said she is confident that with the launch of the court, rapists and all the perpetrators of GBV are going to be given long sentences.
“Women are supposed to be free. They are not objects to be abused. They deserve respect. Whoever abuses women must be locked in jail,” Mutangwa said.
Sexual Offences Courts were reintroduced by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development in 2013 to provide specialised services to victims of GBV.
Since August 2013, the department has been upgrading regional courts into sexual offences courts.
The Sibasa Sexual Offences Court is the 94th court to be launched in South Africa.
The Sexual Offences Courts are backed by the Thuthuzela Centres and they continue to yield conviction rates, and in the last financial year, the conviction rate stood at 74.4 percent. SAnews.gov.za
“Women are supposed to be free. They are not objects to be abused. ”