NGO welcomes sexual offences courts

2013-08-06 21:19

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Cape Town - The re-establishment of sexual offences courts will restore faith in the justice system, the Women's Legal Centre (WLC) said on Tuesday.

The WLC was responding to the release of a report by Justice Minister Jeff Radebe on the re-introduction of courts specialising in sexual offences.

Radebe said 22 of these courts would open this year, and 35 more would be introduced in the next three years.

"[We] hope the sound recommendations contained [in the report] will inform the recently published sexual offences amendment bill, which allows the minister to designate sexual offences courts," WLC director Jennifer Williams said.

She said the specialised courts were important because they contained the infrastructure to more effectively deal with sexual offences cases.

"This includes resources such as private waiting rooms for victims and witnesses, court preparation, officials capable of preparing victims and witnesses for what will be expected of them in court, and at least two prosecutors in each court," she said.

The ministerial advisory task team on the adjudication of sexual offences report made provision for such facilities.

"Sexual offences courts, when correctly resourced, have the potential to greatly reduce secondary victimisation of victims. Such courts will also improve conviction rates, which will ultimately encourage victims to report cases," Williams said.

Read more on:    jeff radebe  |  child abuse  |  domestic violence

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