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Sexual Assault

What is sexual assault?

  • A sexual assault is when someone touches another person without 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 ones private parts.
    • Showing ones private body parts to a child or mentally disabled person.
    • Showing children and mentally handicapped 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 on the Register.

The process of reporting a sexual assault

  • A sexual offence is identified
  • 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 register

Reporting an offence to the police

Go to the police

  • Go to your nearest police station
  • You can ask a friend or a family member to go with you

Fill out a statement

  • 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

Medical Examination

  • When reporting to the police, he/she may ask for a medical person to carry out an examination.
  • The findings will be included in your case file.

Contact Details

  • Don’t forget to give the police officer all you contact details: address, telephone numbers.
  • Even when you move, inform the police so that they can keep you informed.

What is the reporting process?

  • The police have a duty to protect all people in our country.
  • Therefore, children and people who are mentally disabled should feel safe to report any form of sexual offence to the police and always alert an adult that they trust if someone is touching them in a way they do not think is right.
  • Anyone who knows about such behaviour against a child or mentally disabled person must report the incident to the police.
  • If you don’t report it, you could get a fine or go to jail.

What will police do after 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 given
    • Whether you need to go to a parade to see your 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 phone number to check on the progress of the case.
  • After investigating (all of which is done free), the investigating officer will hand the file to the state lawyer. This service is free.
  • The state lawyer decides on whether the matter should go to court.

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 victims of sexual offences.
  • To make victims feel safer, toys are provided, as well as a television (one way mirror) to get testimony in a manner that makes the child comfortable.
  • In these courts, there is a waiting area, so that the victim of a sexual offence does not have to see the person accused of the crime.
  • These courts also make it easier for victims to lay a charge through the one-stop Thuthuzela Care Centre which may be found in a hospital.

National Register for Sex Offenders (NRSO) aims to stop spate of incidents against children and mentally disabled 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 or private sectors such as schools; crèches and hospitals the right to check that the person 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 Register seeks 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.

Chief-Directorate: Promotion of the Rights of Vulnerable Groups
Private Bag X81, Pretoria, 0001
Tel: 012 315 1808/1656
Fax: 086 653 3306
E-mail: sorma@justice.gov.za