SEXUAL OFFENCES AND VIOLENCE
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.