South Africa Plans To Have More Sexual Offences Courts

CAPE TOWN, July 16 (BERNAMA-NNN-SA NEWS) -- As part of the fight against sexual violence in South Africa, the Department of Justice and Correctional Services will establish twelve more sexual offences courts in the current fiscal year, says Minister Michael Masutha.

The additional courts to be set up will be on top of the 22 which were established last year, he told a media briefing Tuesday ahead of his Budget Vote to the National Assembly here later in the evening. The plan, he said, is to re-establish 106 Sexual Offences Courts over a period of 10 years.

"Through Sexual Offences Courts, we are able to provide specialised victim-support services, improve the effectiveness of witnesses in the execution of their role in court; reduce the turnaround time in the finalisation of sexual offences matters and improve the conviction rates," he added.

The concept of sexual offences courts was introduced in South Africa in 1993 and by the end of 2005, there were 74 sexual offences courts nationwide. The special courts had been phased out over the years because of budget constraints but were re-introduced last August.

The courts have been labelled as responsive and effective; they reduce secondary victimisation, improve the skills of court personnel, speed up the finalisation of cases and contribute to their efficient prosecution and adjudication in a country with one of the highest incidences sexual crime cases.

They feature specially trained officials, procedures and equipment to reduce the chance of secondary trauma for victims.

The Department's Chief Operating Officer, Khotso Dewee, said the department had allocated 100 million Rand (about US$9.35 million) for the running of the sexual offences courts.


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