Police failing rape victims - rights group

2011-03-21 23:01

Johannesburg - The police are failing to promote the rights of rape victims by not following correct procedures, the Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre (TLAC) said on Monday.

"The police service routinely fails to follow correct procedures such as informing victims that they have the right to post-exposure prophylaxis to prevent HIV transmission, and also to demand that the suspect be tested for HIV," TLAC spokesperson Lisa Vetten said in a statement.

These procedures were set out in the Sexual Offences Act passed in 2007. The act aimed to improve co-ordination between police, health workers and public prosecutors in dealing with rape cases.

A national working group on sexual offences was raising awareness of the act through the Shukumisa campaign. Research by the campaign's monitoring team showed many police stations did either not understand the act, or officers had not been trained in implementing it, Vetten said.

The research revealed that only half of 60 monitored stations had ready access to regulation forms on HIV testing of rape-accused, and information sheets for rape survivors about post-exposure prophylaxis and HIV testing.

"This is not about bureaucratic technicalities, it is about the very real impact these failures have on victims," Vetten said.

She called on the police to ensure all stations complied with the law and train officers to implement it.

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