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B.Comparative survey of lawsGeneral7.7.2Women, Law & Development Internationalsurveyed 146 respondents from different593countries. In addition to adopting gender-specific, comprehensive domestic violence legislation,respondents feltthat greater enforcement of existing laws would improve the situation of594domestic violence in their countries. Respondents noted that a lack of faith in the legal systemand pressure from legal officials were major factors influencing women not to file domesticviolence complaints. Too often women who try to access the courts are impeded by the ignoranceand hostility of the very officials to whom they must complain. Survey responses advocated forstrong penalties for officials who do not enforce existing laws regarding domestic violence or donot follow proper procedures and protocols for the enforcement of these laws.
233State Responses99.5957.7.3It is recommendedthat governments develop and enforce penalties against officials who595do not follow proper procedures and protocols for the enforcement of laws in cases of domesticviolence or for actions contrary to the provisions and principles in domestic violence legislation.C.Evaluation7.7.4Three crucial stages in the applicant’s encounter with the legal system which are integralto the victim’s safety are embodied in previous discussions:*A duty on the SAPS to inform the victim of her rights.The legislation cannotoperate effectively unless applicants are made aware, by those who represent thejustice system, that there are procedures in place which they can utilize to protecttheir rights.*The service of documents by the clerk, sheriff and peace officers.Once again,without these law enforcement agents acting promptly, applicants cannot relyupon the protection of the order.*A duty upon the SAPS to execute warrants of arrest and to arrest respondents.7.7.5The failure of law enforcement agents to carry out their duties in the crucial stages in theapplicant’s encounter with the legal system should constitute misconduct or even an offence. Thisis an attempt to ensure that law enforcement agents have a stake in ensuring that the legislationworks to promote the safety of victims caught in domestic violence situations. In effect, it sendsout the message that domestic violence is not only the problem of the applicant, but that of theentire justice system. Law enforcement agents have something to lose by not carrying out theirduties to promote the spirit of the legislation.
234Section 6 of the Act.5967.7.6A duty on certain individuals to report the ill-treatment of children is contained in the Actand failure to comply therewith is an offence.596
235CLRC No 9 paragraph 120.597Fedler 1995 SALJ234.5988.CONCLUSION8.1The Community Law Reform Committee of the Australian Capital Territorymakes the597following notable observation:Over the past 10 years every major report dealing with domestic violence at aninternational, national, and state level has stressed the need for a co-ordinated andcomprehensive approach to the problem.