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  • Index of articles surrounding the debate of the Domestic Violence Bill

  • Women hail Domestic Violence Bill
    The Herald (Zimbabwe)
    July 12, 2006

    View the index of articles on the debate around the Domestic Violence Bill

    WOMEN'S organisations yesterday hailed the Domestic Violence Bill, saying the proposed law would help curb domestic violence which has resulted in deaths or serious injuries to many people in the country.

    Musasa Project director Ms Ednah Bhala said the provisions of the Bill were comprehensive enough to deal with domestic violence.

    "It is comprehensive enough as it defines domestic violence in a manner that caters for all forms of domestic violence. The effectiveness of the proposed law will depend on its implementation," she said.

    There was need, Ms Bhala said, for the police and judiciary officers to be well versed in domestic violence issues to ensure effective implementation of the proposed legislation.

    She welcomed the envisaged setting up of the Anti-Domestic Violence Committee, saying this was crucial for rendering support to victims of domestic violence.

    "There are a lot of cases of domestic violence that are going unreported and we welcome the Bill for making provisions in which anyone can report to the police cases of domestic violence," Ms Bhala said.

    Her sentiments were echoed by Women's Action Group (WAG) director Ms Edinah Musiyiwa, who said the proposed law was long overdue.

    "We subscribe to the provisions of the Bill as it provides a framework of dealing with gender-based violence which is on the increase," he said.

    "Women were finding it difficult to get recourse on domestic violence which was treated as a private affair."

    The Zimbabwe Women Lawyers' Association (ZWLA) has also hailed the Bill, saying it would reinforce the traditional values of the family unit.

    The Bill, that was gazetted last week, seeks to widen the scope of domestic violence to include physical, sexual, emotional, verbal, psychological and economic abuse as well as intimidation, harassment and stalking.

    It also includes damage to property, entry into complainants house without consent where the parties do not share the same residence and depriving the complainant of a reasonable share of the use of facilities associated with his or her place of residence.

    The proposed legislation makes it mandatory for every police station to have a section to deal with domestic violence matters and also places a legal duty on the police to assist victims.

    It comes in the wake of recent concerns by parliamentarians on the escalation of domestic violence cases in the country.

    The country has over the years seen the victimisation of mostly women by men, who have traditionally occupied centres of power in society.

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