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Over 400 domestic violence cases registered in 2019

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Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Kagiso Mmusi, has told parliament that the total number of cases that were registered under the Domestic Violence Act in various magistrates courts across the country in 2019 is 440.

He said out of this number, 298 cases were completed within 30 days which makes a completion rate of 68 percent, adding that these cases were both interim and final order.

Mmusi was responding to a question from Specially Elected Member of Parliament, Unity Dow, who firstly wanted the Minister to state the percentage of cases brought under the Domestic Violence Act concluded, where both interim and final orders were issued within 30 days last year.

Dow further asked the Minister to state in what percentage of cases was domestic violence as defined in the Domestic Violence Act a factor in divorces in 2019.

Responding to the question, Mmusi told parliament that a total of 735 divorce cases were filed last year, noting that one or more elements of domestic violence were alleged as a ground for divorce.

“511 cases which translate to 69 percent were allowed for divorce,” said the minister, adding that the average duration for divorce proceedings for defended cases is 12 months and for undefended cases, it is three months.

Dow had also asked Mmusi what legal or policy and structural reforms he considers necessary to curb the increasing incidences of Gender-Based Violence.

“It must be noted that from a portfolio responsibility perspective, my ministry comes into the picture after the event. The police, prosecutors, and the courts only deal with GBV after it has happened,” he said.

However, he said the ministry has not left the end of their interventions there as the ministry engages in proactive and preventive measures.

“It is in this respect that it is necessary to establish components and key departments in ministries that deal with GBV cases,” Mmusi told parliament.

He said in his Ministry, the Botswana Police Service, the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) and Administration of Justice have already established specialized structures within their respective departments to deal with GBV.

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