South African Law

The new South African law around rape came into effect in December 2007. This law is called the Sexual Offences and Related Matters Amendment Act, No. 32 of 2007.

Important Features of the Sexual Offences act:
  • The age of consent for both men and women is now 16 years
  • Rape victims must get anti-retroviral drugs to prevent them being infected with HIV
  • Rape victims may ask the court to test alleged rapists for HIV
  • All sexual crimes are included in one law
  • A number of new sexual crimes, particularly those affecting children and people with mental disabilities, have been created
  • All forms of sexual abuse or exploitation are crimes
  • Both men and women are considered to be victims and perpetrators of rape
  • A National Register of Sex Offenders has been established that prohibits people who have been convicted of sexual offences against children and/or people with mental disabilities from working with either of these two groups.
These pages have more information: