Justice system 'not kind to abuse victims'

President Cyril Ramaphosa's five-point emergency plan to tackle gender-based violence was not working, Luke Lamprecht said.
President Cyril Ramaphosa's five-point emergency plan to tackle gender-based violence was not working, Luke Lamprecht said.
Image: 123RF/gajus

Civil society organisations have urged the government to implement a victim-friendly mechanism that will assist to end the scourge of violence against women and children.

Luke Lamprecht, the Women & Men Against Child Abuse advocacy manager, said this would help to assist minors who have been sexually violated in not only dealing with the trauma they have experienced, but also in fixing a criminal justice system that appears to be slanted in favour of perpetrators.

Lamprecht was speaking to Sowetan yesterday, against the backdrop of the launch of this year's 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign.

Lamprecht said there were systemic failures experienced by child victims in the criminal justice system.

He highlighted the dangers that children faced as a result of adults whose professions required them to work with minors on a daily basis.

"There needs to be a sexual offences register specific to those professions - professions such as teaching, coaching and faith-based leadership. This will mean that those offenders will need to answer to their professional bodies and then answer to the law," Lamprecht said.

He said this would prevent those who have been found to have sexually abused minors from working in an environment that gives them access to minors without being picked up. He argued that children were let down by the system as only a fraction of cases reported to the police yielded convictions.

He said President Cyril Ramaphosa's five-point emergency plan to tackle gender-based violence was not working. Ramaphosa launched the emergency action plan in August amid widespread criticism of government's failure to tackle gender-based violence.

"One of the reasons is that the criminal justice system is not kind to the victims - in this case being children - in that while a perpetrator has numerous chances to plead his case to the criminal justice system, the victim is only a state witness. The system has to work more efficiently for the victims," Lamprecht said.

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