Thursday, 14 June 2018

Church welcomes ConCourt judgement on sexual assault cases



Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has welcomed today's Constitutional Court judgement making it easier to bring to justice the perpetrators of sexual assault. He has also urged South Africa's parliament to act quickly to end the bar on pressing charges if offences were committed more than 20 years earlier.

He said in a statement issued in Cape Town:

“I welcome today's Constitutional Court judgement which declares as inconsistent with the Constitution the provision in the law which bars prosecutors from charging someone for sexual offences (other than rape) after the lapse of 20 years from when the offence was committed.

“Noting that the Court has given Parliament 24 months in order to enact changes to the law to implement its decision in practice, I urge Parliament to act quickly to adopt legislation to remedy the injustice which has prevented survivors of abuse from pressing charges.

“I welcome in particular the Court's recognition that survivors of sexual assault have often not reported offences at the time they were committed for fear of their abusers or concern over the possible responses from their communities.

“This new development in criminal law comes as our Church also takes action to make it easier for survivors of abuse to bring charges under church law.

“Church lawyers have recommended to me that we need to make it easier for complainants to access the process laid down under Canon (Church) Law and that we need to provide more support for them during the process.

“They are also reviewing how the Church can prevent sexual abuse and harassment and how it can initiate early intervention in such cases, including providing support services, a helpline and crisis and survivor support.”


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