She said while the DA welcomes the recent introduction of three bills to tackle the scourge — all of which are still open for public comment — immediate steps must be taken to send a clear message to perpetrators of GBV that their behaviour will not be tolerated.
“We can no longer afford to pay lip service to what is evidently a ‘war’ against defenceless women and children. A low conviction rate for perpetrators of GBV sends out a wrong message which emboldens them to continue with their abusive behaviour,” Abrahams said.
On Wednesday, when President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the country's move to lockdown level 1, he said violence against women and children has continued unabated during the pandemic.
“We are determined to continue with our resolve to deal with the scourge of GBV and femicide,” he said. “Based on the latest data, we have identified 30 hotspots around the country where this problem is most rife.”
Ramaphosa said measures would include the rollout of an integrated and multidisciplinary model that incorporates psychosocial support, case investigation, housing services and economic empowerment for survivors under one roof.
“The Khuseleka One Stop centres expand on the mandate of the existing network of Thuthuzela Care Centres, and are already operational in districts in the North West, Limpopo and the Eastern Cape.
“Work is under way to expand this model of care and support to all provinces.”
The department of social development recently introduced the Victim Services Support Bill which aims to bring victims to the centre of the justice system to ensure the rights applicable to a perpetrator are also extended to a victim.