Press release: NGOs applaud the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development for their swift response to the defects in the 2007 Sexual Offences Act

28 May 2012

NGOs forming part of the Shukumisa Campaign have welcomed Parliament’s prompt intervention into the debacle caused by the Western Cape High Court’s decision which suspended the use of 29 sexual offences. Submissions on these amendments were requested from civil society by 4pm today.

The amendments ensure that three charges which were not defined as offences have now been designated as such and that guidance has also been provided around appropriate penalties. These are

  1. Section 11 [Engaging the sexual services of persons 18 years or older]
  2. Section 17(1) [The unlawful and intentional engagement of the services of a child complainant, for financial or other reward, favour of compensation]
  3. Section 23(1) [The unlawful and intentional engagement of the services of a complainant who is mentally disabled for financial or other reward, favour of compensation].

“In the past NGOs played a very limited role in the drafting of the 2007 Sexual Offences Act”, said Lisa Vetten of Tshwaranang. “This public consultation is appreciated and we hope that this is the beginning of  a process of engagement and dialogue aimed at strengthening the psycho-social and criminal justice system response to rape survivors and their families.”

Amongst other things, NGOs would like to see better protective measures made available during trial procedures to rape survivors – especially when they are intellectually disabled. Legislating care and treatment for rape survivors and their families is as important.

We call for more engagement around the 2007 Sexual Offences Act as a whole to ensure that all issues are addressed. In addition to this we ask that the Act be reviewed in 2013.

Issued by

  • AIDS Legal Network
  • Childline South Africa
  • Greater Rape Intervention Project (GRIP)
  • Johannesburg Child Advocacy Forum
  • Justice and Women (JAW)
  • Lifeline Pietermaritzburg
  • Limpopo Legal Advice Centre
  • POWA – People Opposing Woman Abuse
  • RAPCAN – Resources Aimed at the Prevention of Child Abuse
  • Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust
  • SANAC Women’s Sector
  • Sonke Gender Justice Network
  • The Teddy Bear Clinic
  • The Western Cape Network on Violence Against Women
  • Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre
  • TVEP – Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Programme
  • Women & Men Against Child Abuse

For more information please contact:
Joan van Niekerk – Manager, Training and Advocacy, National Office at Childline South Africa – Tel: 031 207 9108 or 083 303 8322
Mamohapi Johnson at POWA – 011 642 4342
Amber Howard Cornelius – Assistant Manager at Justice and Women – Tel: 033 394 9949 or 084 366 8086
Lisa Vetten – Director at Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre – 082 822 6725

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