Pilot project on gender violence secures 58 convictions
The training of forensic social workers‚ forensic detectives and ongoing intake of new trainees in these disciplines also seeks to improve the conviction rate of these gross crimes against the vulnerable.
Gauteng MEC for Community Safety Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane says 58 convictions have been secured out of a pilot project to strengthen the prosecution of gender-based violence cases.
Ikhaya Lethemba‚ a centre for victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence administered by her department‚ began the pilot project for the 2014-15 financial year‚ focusing on:
• Establishing what constitutes a ‘court ready’ docket
• 200 cases were randomly ringfenced from all regions
• Evidence collection was strengthened from medico-legal services
• Psychosocial support including emotional‚ material and physical was provided
• A tracking tool was developed from reporting of the case to conviction and sentencing
• Stakeholder relationship and partnership with agencies such as the National Prosecuting Authority and the SAPS’ family violence and child protection unit was strengthened
• A Law clinic was established
• Creation of family support and reunification programmes
• Checklist and post court support
• Regular consultation with survivor
• Daily journal for victims.
“This project piloted 200 cases of which 58 realized successful convictions. This includes perpetrators being sentenced to six life sentences‚ others getting between six and 20 years imprisonment terms for various crime ranging from gang rape‚ child abuse‚ rape pregnancy‚ attempted rape‚ domestic violence ad serial rape‚” she said.
“Strides have indeed been made‚ these successes as minor as they may seem in comparison to the future we desire‚ they contribute in improving policing and the criminal justice system.
“The training of forensic social workers‚ forensic detectives and ongoing intake of new trainees in these disciplines also seeks to improve the conviction rate of these gross crimes against the vulnerable.”
According to a Gender Links Violence Against Women study in four provinces of South Africa‚ 77 percent of women in Limpopo‚ 51 percent in Gauteng‚ 45 percent in Western Cape and 36 percent in KwaZulu-Natal have experienced different forms of gender-based violence during their lifetime.