Child Abuse Research in South Africa - Volume 11, Issue 1, 2010
Volume 11, Issue 1, 2010
The constitutional right to protection of child victims and witnesses in the South African criminal justice system : director of Public Prosecutions, Transvaal v Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, and othersAuthor Johan PrinslooSource: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 11, pp 1 –10 (2010)More Less
The complexity surrounding the prosecution of criminal cases in which young victims or witnesses are involved, especially in cases of sexual abuse, remains controversial and often results in the criminal justice system being blamed for neglecting the needs and welfare of child victims and witnesses. It is therefore argued that a progressive justice system requires a flexible interpretation of the legal rules regarding the giving of testimony, to ensure that children's unique vulnerability is taken into consideration and their needs served. It is argued that, even though some of the fundamental international rights may not be repeated explicitly in section 28(2) of the Constitution, they are critical prerequisites setting children's right to special care apart from other fundamental rights and thereby creating the only instance of the precedence of one fundamental right over others. The Constitutional Court (see Director of Public Prosecutions, Transvaal v Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, and others 2009 (2) SACR 159-160 (CC)) acknowledged that the constitutional principles pertaining to the special nature of children's rights apply to all children who are witnesses in criminal trials. However, while recognising that there is a need to protect child witnesses and especially complainants in sexual cases, the Court arrived at the conclusion that it is essentially a matter of statutory interpretation rather than of the constitutional status of a number of issues previously identified by the High Court. These issues are discussed and debated in this article.
Author M. Elizabeth SmitSource: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 11, pp 11 –15 (2010)More Less
This article is a study of an anti-child culture, with specific reference to divorce as a typical feature of such a culture in our own time. Education in contemporary society is being hampered by educational and societal factors. Rapid, dynamic change is inherent in this society, and families are by no means immune to it. Children are increasingly vulnerable to the uncertainties and confusions of bad marriages; and the number of single-parent families is rising as a direct result of divorce. The phenomenon of broken homes can result in numerous social problems associated with an anti-child culture. These, in turn, contribute to the phenomenal divorce rate that has such an impact on education. Children often experience divorce as an anti-child event that evokes a sense of guilt, uncertainty and not being wanted; and many juveniles vent their reaction to such a culture in socially unacceptable behaviour. Clearly, adequate education cannot take place in such conditions.
Source: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 11, pp 16 –27 (2010)More Less
Child rape remains an emotive subject. Although in accordance with Circular 26/3/2 of 2007 investigating officers are obliged to visit crime scenes in instances of child rape, it has been alleged from within the ranks of the Family Violence and Child Protection Unit (FCS) and by external sources that such scenes are not being visited and searches are not being conducted. In order to highlight the significance of the crime scene in the investigation process, research was undertaken at the FCS unit at the West Rand during 2007. Data for this study was gathered through an extensive literature review, structured interviews and docket analysis. The most disconcerting finding emanating from the study was that the investigating officer visited the crime scene in a mere 11% of cases, and that at none of these scenes could evidence be found. It is strongly recommended that branch commanders encourage their investigating officers to ensure that scenes are visited and processed correctly and that they monitor compliance during the inspection of the case dockets.
Source: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 11, pp 28 –42 (2010)More Less
An evaluation of existing measures aimed at restricting the use of the Internet as an avenue to initiate sexual activities with adolescentsSource: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 11, pp 43 –56 (2010)More Less
The focus of this article will be on existing preventative measures that aim to restrict unacceptable activities of sexual offenders on the Internet. An Information Technology theory, namely the gratification approach of Blumler and Katz will be employed explaining why some paedophiles will make use of the Internet to stalk potential child victims. Since many parents and caregivers are unaware of existing aids to help them to prevent sexual predators to communicate with children via the Internet, an exposition of existing filtering and blocking software is highlighted in this contribution. An overview of current legislation pertaining to Internet paedophilia as well as an outline of the importance of parental awareness with regards to this phenomenon will be put forward. Before engaging into the above mentioned aspects, the concepts that are central to this article are defined.
Author Carmel R. MatthiasSource: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 11, pp 57 –67 (2010)More Less
In some cases of domestic violence, the removal of a perpetrator of child abuse from the family home is an appropriate option in order to stop the abuse from continuing. When the Children's Act 38 of 2005 and regulations came into force on 1 April 2010 new perpetrator removal provisions became available. This article evaluates the new legislation and compares it with pre-existing law. The focus is on how social workers can make optimal use of the different perpetrator removal remedies in child abuse cases. The situations in which each option can most usefully be applied are explored. The article will highlight the various shortcomings of both the old and new legal provisions which practitioners will need to keep in mind when considering alternatives for protecting abused children.