n Child Abuse Research in South Africa - In the best interest of the child : the protection of child victims and witnesses in the South African Criminal Justice System

Volume 9, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1562-1383



South Africa's ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1995 paved the way for far-reaching policy and legislative changes. Despite this undertaking, as well as the fact that certain children's rights are guaranteed vide section 28 included in Chapter 2 (Bill of Rights) of the Constitution (Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 108 of 1996), children's rights within criminal justice system are still neglected. Although the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 was amended to allow for a more child-friendly environment and procedures, they were still inadequate. In two recent cases, the High Court reviewed the constitutionality of the position of children involved as victims and / or witnesses in criminal trials of a serious nature. The court made some very important rulings that will guide the observation of this facet of children's rights by our courts in future. It is also noteworthy that the South African Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (SAPSAC) was actively involved as a friend of the court in the abovementioned cases.

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