Rape and sexual abuse is an ongoing crisis in our communities. We have one of the highest rates of rape in the world. We also have high levels of inequality and poverty which mean that survivors receive very different support after being the victim of a sexual offence.
Survivors find that the criminal justice system is not on their side. Very few survivors report – as little as 1 out of 9. Even if survivors report, the cases are often not investigated. In court, the survivor may be victimised again by the prosecutor, magistrate, and defence lawyers.
Rape survivors must be the focus of the sexual offences court system in in order to help convict criminals, and empower survivors.
We need more sexual offences courts.
What is a Sexual Offences Court?
Sexual Offences Courts are special courts that only deal with sexual offences and provide special services to survivors. These courts are sensitive to the survivor and help to:
- reduce the trauma of a survivor
- speed up cases
- make better court judgements because the court personnel are better skilled
- increase reporting of rape
- increase convictions
Do we have specialised Sexual Offences Courts?
At the moment there are only 43 sexual offences courts in South Africa. These are all clustered in urban areas, and are not enough to serve the 53 000 reported survivors of rape each year.
What is special about a Sexual Offences Court?
The idea of Sexual Offences Courts was developed in South Africa. Eventually, this idea earned recognition across the world as something that works well.
In 2013, a new Sexual Offences Court Model was developed. This was done to set out the requirements for Sexual Offences Courts. The courts have specially trained prosecutors, and magistrates.
A sexual offences court has a special court room, a separate waiting room for adult witnesses/survivors, a separate waiting room for child witnesses/survivors, and special testifying room with CCTV equipment.
The campaign for Sexual offences Courts
Rape Crisis is launching a campaign to monitor the Government’s roll out of the specialised sexual offences courts that it promised us and to make sure that it meets its promises. The Government must make sure that, over time, all survivors of sexual violence have access to these courts.
You can become part of this campaign by joining us in community actions, signing our petitions and attending community meetings where we will discuss the sexual offences courts.
Be part of the change!
- Sign up to join the Rape Survivors’ Justice Campaign by filling in THIS FORM
- Like our Facebook page
- Follow us on Twitter
For questions or additional information contact Advocacy Coordinator, Jeanne Bodenstein: firstname.lastname@example.org