PRESS RELEASE: Regulations relating to Sexual Offences Courts to be Gazetted soon
Legislative framework for Sexual Offences Courts
On 18 September 2019, Minister Ronald Lamola, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, announced that the Chief Justice has given his approval for the Regulations relating to Sexual Offences Courts. These regulations will now be gazetted in Parliament upon which time the legislative framework for sexual offences courts will come into force.
The Importance of Sexual Offences Courts
This announcement was made during the Joint Sitting of the National Assembly on Gender-Based Violence where the President reaffirmed the country’s commitment to address gender-based violence. The President mentioned the importance of strengthening the criminal justice system and said, “ This is to ensure that justice is served, perpetrators are held to account, survivors do not suffer secondary victimisation, and the law acts as a deterrent. We will therefore be directing resources to improve the functioning of Sexual Offences Courts, Thuthuzela Care Centres, and the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Investigation Units of the SAPS. Funding has already been approved for the establishment of an additional eleven Sexual Offences courts over the next financial year.”
The Rape Survivors Justice Campaign is very pleased that the regulatory framework for sexual offences courts is now at a final stage and that additional resources have been dedicated towards a victim-centred criminal justice system with specialised services for survivors of sexual offences, as civil society organisations have worked tirelessly to lobby for specialised services to be provided to survivors. Sexual offences courts across the country are necessary to hold perpetrators of sexual offences accountable and to address the culture of impunity for these offences. These courts also aim to limit secondary trauma by providing additional support to survivors.
The RSJC commends the efforts by the Department of Justice, Civil society and the Judiciary to make specialised services and a victim-centred criminal justice system available for all survivors of sexual offences and we call on the South African Government to continue with the rollout of sexual offences courts until this is a reality.
Contact: Jeanne Bodenstein
Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust
021 447 1467