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May 2021 2nd edition

NPA tackling GBVF

Written by More Matshediso

Government is committed to providing justice and security for women and children.Advocate Shamila Batohi is the National Director of Public Prosecutions.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) plays an important role in ensuring that the most effective legal mechanisms and support services are in place to assist victims of gender-based violence (GBV).

National Director of Public Prosecutions Advocate Shamila Batohi, who heads the NPA, says addressing violence against women and children is one of the NPA’s

priorities.

“The reality is that we are facing a war against women and children in our country. An average of two children and seven women are killed every day; an average of 114 rapes are recorded by the police every day,” she says.

Batohi adds that the situation is actually worse than the numbers show, with many cases going unreported.

She believes that law enforcement agencies can do more to curb GBV.

“But the reality is that it is reactive and responsive in nature – we come in only after the person has been victimised.”

Batohi says addressing GBV effectively needs a proactive, whole-of-society approach.

The NPA is involved in reviewing the legal and policy framework that governs how GBV and femicide is addressed.

Laws that protect women and children against violence are also being strenghtened.

Parliament is finalising the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act and the Domestic Violence Amendment Bill, to which the NPA contributed significantly. 

The Thuthuzela Care Centre model, which is led by the NPA’s Sexual Offences and Community Affairs Unit, in partnership with national government departments and donors, is working towards the prevention, response and support for sexual and GBV victims.

“The integrated approach to dealing with sexual and GBV matters is that of respect, comfort, restoring dignity and ensuring justice © to ensure adequate care, support and healing for the victims of GBV and to reduce secondary victimisation, while increasing the prospects of a successful prosecution in reported cases,” says Batohi.  

For assistance with GBV-related crimes, contact the GBV Command Centre at 0800 428 428 or *120*7867# from a cellphone. Persons with disabilities can SMS ‘help’ to 31531.