Ombudsman calls for amendment to Domestic Violence Act
20 Nov 2013 17:00pm
WINDHOEK, 20 NOV (NAMPA) - Ombudsman John Walters has called on the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare (MGECW) to propose some amendments to the Combating of Domestic Violence Act, Act No 04 of 2003.
Walters was speaking in the capital on Tuesday at the opening of the Rights Action Plan Consultative Conference.
He said the MGECW should seek amendments to the Combating of Domestic Violence Act in order to authorise police station commanders to issue protection orders against abusive men at places where there are no resident magistrates.
He explained that all women and children enjoy equal protection under the Combating of Domestic Violence Act, but such protection mechanisms are only available to victims of violence during court hours and court days.
Only magistrates are authorised to issue protection orders and at places where there are no magistrates, women lose out on the protection of the law, unless they travel to the nearest resident magistrate, who may be more than 100 kilometres away with no public transport to reach him/her, he lamented.
Walters called upon the Ministry of Justice and the Magistrate's Commission to make the necessary arrangements to have magistrates and support staff available after court hours to issue protection orders.
He said violence against women does not take place only between 08h00 and 17h00 but at any time during the night and on weekends.
This year, we will again call upon men to stop abusing their partners. But there are no mechanisms in place to issue protection orders after court hours and court days. This must be changed, he stressed.