Legislation: Now Domestic Violence Bill becomes gender-neutral

The Domestic Violence Amendment Bill has been revised to reflect gender neutrality. A report in The Citizen notes that the Bill’s gender-neutrality amendments were approved during a sitting of Parliament’s Justice & Correctional Services Portfolio Committee this week. The move will make this SA’s second gender-neutral Act after the Cybercrimes Act. In the Bill’s amendments, traditional pronouns such as ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘him’ or ‘her’ have been replaced by gender-neutral terms such as ‘they’, ‘them’ or ‘their’ where appropriate.

‘Gender-neutral terms seek to include every person in society,’ said Deputy Minister of Justice & Correctional Services John Jeffery. ‘A non-binary term is more inclusive because you don’t just have “he” and “she”, you also have… intersex people or people who don’t identify as either. In the context of domestic violence, I think gender identity becomes very important,’ said Jeffery. Committee chairperson Gratitude Magwanishe said the language used in legislation was bound to evolve. ‘I generally think that non-binary language is going to become a standard way of drafting legislation going forward,’ said Magwanishe.

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