Submission on Sexual Offences Courts Regulations and Implementation Plan

November 2014

“We recognise the commitment of government and in particular the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Parliamentary Committee on Justice to develop the legal framework and service models to address sexual offences over the past 15 years. This has resulted in a framework and models with the potential to address many of the underlying issues that bedevil access to justice for survivors of sexual violence. However, to date, the impact of these developments is not evident. Survivors and organisations working to support them in the criminal justice system continue to report alarming rates of secondary victimisation, and the reporting to conviction rates appear to be unchanged over the past 15 years.

The Shukumisa Campaign assesses that there are two primary reasons for this. The first has been the lack of investment in a national plan to ensure court and provincial leadership to implement and ensure staff accountability to the standards established in the framework.
The second relates to failure to commit resources to ensure their implementation at scale. We recognise that this failure is contextualised by budget constraints and competing priorities. However we believe that the profound impact on individuals and society necessitates that spending on sexual offences be prioritised to signal the state’s commitment to effectively address this pervasive violation of women’s rights and to realise the vision of the legal framework.”

Download the full submission here (Adobe pdf)

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Press Release: Amendment bill to decriminalise consensual sexual activities between teenagers

18 November 2014

The Centre for Child Law notes with concern a media report stating that an amendment bill that will be tabled before Parliament will ‘legalise’ teenage sex. This statement is misleading.

The aim of the amendments to the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act 32 of 2007 is to decriminalise consensual sexual behaviour between children aged between 12 and 16 years old. This does not amount to legalisation but means that there will be a change in law that eliminates the criminal punishments that these children would face if the Act is left as is. The Constitutional Court has already ruled that the law cannot remain because treating these children as criminals is unconstitutional. Read more ›

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Dept of Justice annual progress report on implementation of the Sexual Offences Act for 2013/4

“The Sexual Offences Act requires the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development to establish intervention mechanisms in the justice system aimed at responding to and preventing sexual violence in our communities. It is the collective legislative role of DoJ&CD to ensure that the protective provisions of the Act come to life every woman, child, older person, person with disabilities, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) person everywhere in the country. Through justice intervention means, our courts should be providing an environment defined by victim- support services that seek to eradicate secondary victimization. Our court services is sought to be designed to make the law more accessible and effective to all victims of sexual violence as they engage with the court system.”

The report presents the initiatives undertaken by the Department in the effective implementation of the Act. It further outlines achievements and challenges experienced.

It is the third report that will be tabled in Parliament in terms of section 65(3) of the Act, and it covers the period 01 April 2013 to 31 March 2014.

Download the Report (Adobe pdf format)

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