SEX­UAL OF­FENCES AND VI­O­LENCE

Observer on Saturday - - News -

he Royal Swazi­land Po­lice Ser­vice (REPS) has in­ten­si­fied ef­forts aimed at elim­i­nat­ing all forms of vi­o­lence, abuse and dis­crim­i­na­tion against vul­ner­a­ble cat­e­gories by ori­ent­ing of­fi­cers on the Sex­ual Of­fences and Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence (SODV) Act.

As part of the ca­pac­i­ta­tion ap­proach to trig­ger a turn­around on do­mes­tic and sex­ual vi­o­lence meted against women and chil­dren, 34 se­nior of­fi­cers at­tended a high level ori­en­ta­tion work­shop held at Pigg’s Peak Ho­tel last Thurs­day and Fri­day. The pur­pose of the work­shop was to sen­si­tise of­fi­cers on pro­vi­sions of the SODV Act to en­sure com­pre­hen­sive un­der­stand­ing of the leg­is­la­tion.

Speak­ing dur­ing the of­fi­cial open­ing of the work­shop, the Act­ing Na­tional Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice Wil­liam Wayne Dlamini stated that the Po­lice Ser­vice found it nec­es­sary to ori­ent of­fi­cers on the SODV Act to pro­mote the elim­i­na­tion of all kinds of abuse and vi­o­lence against women and chil­dren. He re­vealed that such ca­pac­i­ta­tion is vi­tal for those in strate­gic and tac­ti­cal po­si­tions within the REPS to en­sure com­pli­ance to the dic­tates of the leg­is­la­tion in de­ci­sion mak­ing and the pro­vi­sion of re­sources.

Dlamini re­vealed that through the as­sis­tance from UNICEF the Po­lice Ser­vice has been able to ca­pac­i­tate 74 of­fi­cers in­clud­ing heads of the Crim­i­nal In­ves­ti­ga­tion at sta­tion level, shift of­fi­cers as well as Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence, Child Pro­tec­tion and Sex­ual Of­fences (DCS) prac­ti­tion­ers. He stated that to en­sure that all po­lice of­fi­cers are well versed with sec­tions of the SODV Act so that they can dili­gently ex­e­cute their du­ties, the train­ing pro­gramme will be rolled out to the broad spec­trum of the Po­lice Ser­vice such as the Ba­sic and InSer­vice Train­ing.

The Act­ing Po­lice Chief noted that since the pro­mul­ga­tion of the SODV Act the pub­lic has been very re­spon­sive in terms of re­port­ing cases of vi­o­lence and abuse which is re­flected in over one thou­sand cases re­ported since Au­gust 2018. He stated that the ac­cu­mu­lated num­ber of cases is an in­di­ca­tion that some of­fences which vi­o­late the rights of women and chil­dren were not re­ported prior to this leg­is­la­tion.

Dlamini high­lighted that some of the con­sid­er­a­tions of the SODV Act in­clude ca­pac­ity build­ing to en­sure that of­fi­cers in the Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence,

TChild Pro­tec­tion and Sex­ual Of­fences Unit are well trained to im­ple­ment its pro­vi­sions. He also noted that since the leg­is­la­tion dic­tates for 24/7 ser­vice de­liv­ery, the per­son­nel strength the DCS Unit needs to be in­creased. He stated that other con­sid­er­a­tions of the Act in­clude the pro­vi­sion of elec­tronic de­vices to en­hance ev­i­dence col­lec­tion, in­ter­view­ing rooms to pro­tect vic­tims, adop­tion of the new Med­i­cal Re­port Form, as well as the sup­port of ac­tiv­i­ties of a multi-sec­toral ap­proach.

UNICEF’s Leonard Ka­mugisha stated that the role of the po­lice in pre­vent­ing and re­spond­ing to vi­o­lence against chil­dren is both vi­tal and in­dis­pens­able. He noted that over the years the role of the po­lice has evolved from be­ing ap­pre­hen­ders of of­fend­ers to a more com­mu­nity-cen­tered in­volve­ment which en­ables po­lice to ac­tively pre­vent vi­o­lence against chil­dren.

Ka­mugisha noted that the SODV Act pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity for con­tin­u­ous en­gage­ment with com­mu­ni­ties so that they are aware of what needs to be done in re­la­tion to sex­ual of­fences.

He com­mended the Po­lice Ser­vice for its com­mit­ment to en­hanc­ing knowl­edge and skills of per­son­nel through on­go­ing ori­en­ta­tion on child pro­tec­tion.

He ap­plauded the Po­lice lead­er­ship for un­der­tak­ing the ori­en­ta­tion on the SODV Act stat­ing that con­tin­ued learn­ing and growth is cen­tral for a pro­fes­sional in­sti­tu­tion.

GROUP PIC­TURE: Work­shop par­tic­i­pants cap­tured dur­ing the of­fi­cial open­ing of the high level work­shop.

WE ARE ONE: Deputy Na­tional Com­mis­sion­ers Fana Ross Maseko and Pree­man Mandla Md­luli were also present.

UNITED: Act­ing Na­tional Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice Wil­liam Wayne Dlamini mak­ing his re­marks.

JOIN­ING HANDS: UNICEF’s Leonard Ka­mugisha rep­re­sent­ing Dr Alice Akunga.

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