An offence is identified (rape, sexual assault, etc)
- The offence is reported to the Police
- The matter goes to Court
- The offender is convicted
- The name of the offender is placed on the National Register for Sex Offenders (NRSO)
What is the reporting process?
¨ The Police have a duty to protect all people of our country whether able-bodied or disabled
¨ Therefore, children and people with all forms of disability (including mental disability) should feel safe to report any form of sexual offence to the Police and always alert an adult they trust if someone is touching them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable
¨ Anyone who knows about such behaviour against a child or person with disability must report the incident to the Police.
¨ If they do not report it, they could get a fine or go to jail.
Reporting an offence to the Police:
- Go to the Police – go to your nearest Police station. You could ask a friend or family member to go with you.
- Make a statement (Affidavit) – the Police will take down everything you tell them in the form of a statement. You are allowed to make changes to the statement.
- Get a Case Number – do not forget to get a Case Number from the Police Officer. This number will be used to keep you informed of what’s happening regarding your case.
- Medical examination – when reporting to the Police, he/she may ask for a medical person to carry out an examination. The result of the medical examination will be included in your case file.
- Contact details – don’t forget to give the Police Officer all your contact details: address and telephone numbers. Even when you move, inform the Police Officer so that he/she can keep you informed regarding your case.
What will the Police do after a complaint is lodged?
¨ An Investigating Officer will be assigned to the case. The Investigating Officer will let you know:
– When the suspect is arrested
– If bail has been granted
– Whether you need to attend an identification parade to identify the attacker in a line-up
– The date of the trial
– When you will have to give evidence
– The outcome of the case
¨ Don’t be afraid to ask the Police Officer for his/her telephone number to check on the progress of the case.
¨ After the investigation (which is done free of charge), the Investigating Officer will hand the file to the State Attorney (Lawyer). This service is FREE!!!!
¨ The State Attorney (Lawyer) decides on whether the matter should go to Court or not.
Child-friendly Sexual Offences Court:
¨ Special child-friendly Courts have been set up around the country with safety and comfort at the heart of justice.
¨ The Sexual Offences courts are built to strengthen and support children and survivors of sexual offences
¨ To make survivors feel safe, toys are provided, as well as a TV (one-way mirror) to get testimony in a manner that makes the child feel comfortable.
¨ In these Courts, there is a waiting area, so that the survivor of a sexual offence does not have to see the person accused of the crime.
¨ These courts also make it easier for survivors to lay a charge through the one-stop Thuthuzela Care Centres which may be found at a hospital.
What happens after a sexual offender is found guilty in Court?
¨ A Court finding a person guilty of a sexual offence against a child or mentally disabled person, must put the details of the offender on the National Register for Sexual Offenders.
¨ The effects of the finding must be explained to the offender.
¨ The Registrar of the Court must, where possible, inform the employer of the person found guilty of a sexual offence about the finding, and ensure that the offender’s name is put on the National register.
¨ This responsibility also falls on the shoulders of the Clerk of the Court who has to complete an electronic NRSO notification that goes to the Office of the National Registrar for Sex Offenders.
Who has access to the register?
¨ The register IS NOT open to the general public and is kept confidential.
¨ Anyone found guilty of a sexual offence against children and mentally disabled people is put on the Register.
¨ Any employer in the public or private sector working with children or mentally disabled persons can apply for a certificate from the Registrar, these include:
– Licensing authorities, courts, any organisation in which children are members, and an employee (whose name is on the register) can apply to see the register
¨ It can be accessed by an individual applying for a clearance certificate in terms of his/her own case.
The National Register for Sex Offenders (NRSO) aims to stop incidents against children and mentally challenged people
¨ The NRSO was established by an Act of Parliament in 2007
¨ It is a record of names of those found guilty of sexual offences against children and mentally disabled people
¨ The Register gives employers in the public and private sectors such as schools, crèches and hospitals the right to check that the persons being hired is fit to work with children or mentally disabled people
¨ Being found guilty of any crime against a child or mentally disabled person will result in one’s name being put on the National Register
¨ The aim of the Register is to ensure that offenders do not work with children or mentally disabled people
¨ Also, offenders are not allowed to apply for foster care or adoption, or to work with children
¨ Employers can find out whether the people they put in charge of their children have not been found guilty of Sexual Offences in terms of the law
What is Sexual Assault?
¨ A Sexual Assault is when someone touches another person without their permission
¨ A sexual act involves penetration or an act of sexual violation. Having sex without permission is known as rape.
¨ Assault involves:
– touching, rubbing or poking at someone’s private parts
– showing your private parts to a child or mentally disabled person
– showing children and mentally disabled people pornographic material
– sexual exploitation and sexual grooming of children
Our country’s laws protect children and mentally disabled people from such behaviour.
¨ All sexual offences against a child and people who are mentally disabled are placed in the National Register for Sex Offenders.
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