Rape survivors to be protected by new Act

12 Sep 2019 08:20am
WINDHOEK, 12 SEP (NAMPA) – Victims and survivors of rape by a close relative or acquaintance will be kept safe from their suspected violators once the new Combating of Rape Bill is adopted by Parliament, Ministry of Justice Executive Director, Gladice Pickering has said.
The bill is expected to be tabled in the National Assembly by Minister of Justice, Sacky Shanghala during the course of this month.
Upon enquiry on Tuesday, Pickering explained that the bill proposes to provide for protective measures for victims and survivors of rape especially in cases where the suspected violator is a close relative to the victim.
The proposed measures include the power a presiding officer of the court has to impose conditions upon bail and that a complainant in a rape case will now be informed of the development of the case.
Pickering said suspects accused of rape will only be allowed to have contact with a complainant if it is in the best interest of the complainant.
This law is also set to deal with the complexities of a rape case where the accused may be a parent or guardian of a victim.
Pickering said the Combating of Rape Act only deals with the perpetrator of the offence and not parents who fail in their duties as caretakers.
In the event that the guardian is being protected by another guardian, she noted that minors who have been raped by a guardian may find recourse in the Child Protection and Care Act.
The proposed legislation also makes provision for survivors to inform the court why an accused should not be granted bail in the event the rape accused applies to be released on bail.
Pickering explained that in the past the State was not in a position to rebut bail applications by an accused, but now survivors will be in a position to inform the court why bail should not be granted to an accused.