ATC210531: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on the Domestic Violence Amendment Bill [B20 – 2020] (National Assembly – section 75), dated 29May 2021
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on the Domestic Violence Amendment Bill [B20 – 2020] (National Assembly – section 75), dated 29May 2021
The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, having considered the Domestic Violence Amendment Bill [B 20 – 2020] (the Bill), referred to it and classified by the Joint Tagging Mechanism (JTM) as a section 75 Bill, presents the Domestic Violence Act Amendment Bill [B 20B – 2020].
The Committee reportsfurther:
- The levels of gender-based violence and femicide in this country are among the highest in the world, and are acknowledged as a pandemic.
- In November 2018, a Presidential Summit against Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) was held, emerging from the #TheTotalShutdown movement. The Summit resulted in a Declaration which resolved, among others, to:
- Fast track the review of existing laws and policies on gender-based violence to be victim-centred and ensure all other relevant laws respond to GBVF.
- Implement the recommendations that have been identified from reviews and address legislative gaps.
- Revisit and fast track all outstanding laws and bills that relate to GBVF.
- On 18 September 2019, the President expressed the country’s commitment to address the scourge of GBVF and announced an emergency response plan, which includes strengthening the applicable legal framework.
- The Billwas introduced and referred to the Committee on 7 September 2020.
- The Committee published the Bill for comment and held public hearings on 20-23 and 28 October 2020.
- The Bill is one of several legislative measures which aims to strengthen existing laws to address GBVF. Althoughlegal measures cannot be regarded as an all-encompassing solution to address the complex social phenomenon of domestic violence, the State is obliged to promote legislation to afford effective protection to victims of violence in a domestic relationship.
- After extensive deliberations, the Committee presents the Domestic Violence Act Amendment Bill [B 20B – 2020], which seeks to amend the Domestic Violence Act 116 of 1998 to address practical challenges, gaps and anomalies which have manifested since the Act came into operation. In particular, the Bill aims to:broaden the conduct that is regarded as domestic violence; impose obligations on persons to report domestic violence to appropriate functionaries; extend the powers of members of the South African Police Service and peace officers to arrest persons in connection with domestic violence;further regulate the obtaining of protection orders against domestic violence and the powers of the court with regard to the welfare of affected children; provide for domestic violence safety monitoring notice that may be issued by the court; provide for the attendance of witnesses at domestic violence proceedings; further address harassment as a ground of domestic violence and to provide for measures to address cyber-harassment; regulate the powers of the court in respect of reciprocal orders and applications; provide for electronic applications for protection orders and domestic violence safety monitoring notice and the establishment of the integrated electronic repository for domestic violence protection orders; broaden thepowers of the court, where a protection order has been issued, make orders for the protection of victims of domestic violence; further regulate the seizure of weapons; further regulate applications for the variation and setting aside of protection orders; extend jurisdiction in respect of applications for protection orders; further regulate the service of documents; further regulate cost orders; further regulate the prosecution of offencescommitted against a person in a domestic relationship; provide for the issuing of directives to regulate the functions of clerks of the court and other relevant persons when dealing with incidents of domestic violence; further provide for the making of regulations that is necessary for the effective implementation of the Act; and effect incidental amendments to other laws.
Report to be considered.
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