Specialised courts to deal with gender-based violence welcomed by advocacy groups
Durban - SPECIALISED courts dealing with cases of femicide and gender-based violence (GBV) have been applauded by advocacy groups that deal with them.
Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane- Zulu said KwaZulu-Natal now had specialised courts established in parts of the province, intended to ensure that where there was a case of femicide or GBV, it does not take two or three years to get to court.
By then, those involved have forgotten or the children have grown up, which then defeats the ends of justice.
Simelane-Zulu on Sunday said Premier Sihle Zikalala had engaged with the national government to ensure that KZN had specialised courts.
“The engagement the premier had with national government really assisted because we then saw a few such specialised courts being implemented in the province.
“They are not enough, but at least we have started.”
Childline KZN acting director Adeshini Naicker said they approved the idea of having more specialised courts.
“A specialised court would mean prompt and swift convictions. The court process would become integrated with the healing process, as opposed to the current situation where a child completes the therapeutic process but is unable to heal because of being called, sometimes years later, to testify.”
She added that many perpetrators re-offend while out on bail, therefore having swift action would also help bring down the statistics.
Commission for Gender Equality spokesperson Javu Baloyi said they have been decrying the slow pace at which cases of femicide and GBV were prosecuted.
Baloyi said it should not only be about specialised courts, but also the sensitisation in gendered matters of those who work in those courts, such as magistrates, judges, court interpreters, police, lawyers, correctional officers, prosecutors and others.
He said this would assist in ensuring that survivors were not subjected to secondary victimisation by the language and line of questioning.
“If these courts function properly, we will see lots of perpetrators of gender-based violence and femicide facing the full might of the law.
"Survivors at times withdraw cases because of long delays. We trust that with these courts there would be justice for both the survivors and perpetrators,” said Baloyi.