Govt gets tough on rapists, abusers
Cape Town - The Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities has appealed to courts across the country to deny bail for suspects charged with the rape and murder of women and children, Minister Lulu Xingwana said on Tuesday.
"Rapists and perpetrators of violence against women and children have no place in our society. Hence we are calling upon our courts to deny bail for suspects charged with rape and murder of women and children," Xingwana said during debate on her budget vote speech in the National Assembly.
She said women and children continued to be "ravaged" by the scourge of violence, including rape and murder.
"Every day, we receive reports of horrendous attacks on children and women, including the rape and murder of lesbian women in the so-called corrective rape."
Xingwana said gender based violence had a severe and long-lasting impact on victims, including serious mental health problems and the risk of subsequent victimisation; gynaecological complications, unwanted pregnancies, HIV infection; serious physical injuries or disability and death.
She said the numbers and severity of cases required the government to take extra measures to reverse the tide of violence against women and children.
An Advisory Council on Violence against Women and Children would be established to deal with some of these issues.
The South African Police Service had also strengthened its capacity to deal with these cases.
Family violence, child protection and sexual offences units had been established in all 176 policing areas.
Forensic social workers had been hired to assist child victims and to submit evidence necessary to support conviction.
At least 28 Thuthuzela Care Centres had been established in areas with high incidents of violence against women and children.
Xingwana said the department would also promote the Domestic Violence Act to empower victims of violence and communities to use it to prevent cases of abuse.
"We will be mobilising women to ensure that they do not withdraw cases of abuse but allow the law to take its course."