Botswana has announced plans to set up special courts dedicated to gender-based violence (GBV) and related cases to protect women, children and other vulnerable groups.
The country’s Chief Justice Terence Rannowane on Tuesday said the courts are expected to address the disturbing rise in GBV and will be operational next month.
“It has been observed that cases of gender-based violence encompassing intimate partner violence in the form of physical or sexual assault, sexual abuse of minor children and imbeciles has increased at an alarming rate since the start of the COVID- 19 pandemic and the resultant extreme social distancing measure put in place to deal with the grave situation posed by this virus,” said Rannowane.
He said the special courts will ensure that all GBV cases shall be treated as urgent applications and be given expedited management and disposal.
“Such cases shall be prioritized and removed from the normal track of other cases upon registration,” he added.
Gender activists have highlighted that the country has inadequate resources for GBV response and lacks an integrated response system that brings together police, judiciary and health officials.
However, Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi is on record affirming that the government is committed to protect the rights of every citizen and to end GBV.
He also said Botswana Police Service will introduce a dedicated gender and child protection unit next year.