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Making room: Facilitating the testimony of child witnesses and victims

ISBN: 978192038347 Year: Pages: 70 Language: English
Publisher: Pretoria University Law Press (PULP)
Subject: Law
Added to DOAB on : 2020-04-09 12:15:32

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About the publicationCourt rooms are frightening places for anyone testifying. Even adults are fearful about giving evidence in front of magistrates and judges, and about being questioned by prosecutors and defence lawyers. Imagine how much more scary that must be for a child. Even worse, in sexual offences children have to talk about embarrassing things, for which they do not even have an adequate or accurate vocabulary. South African law has excellent provisions which allow children to testify via intermediaries and in separate rooms, so that they need not encounter the offender. But this is only as good as the provisioning allows. In the 2009 case of Director of Public Prosecutions v the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, the Court laid emphasis on these special arrangements, and at the time directed the Minister of Justice to place a report before the Constitutional Court on the readiness of the courts to provide the specialised services. Five years on, this report looks at the statistical evidence that is currently available, coupled with empirical evidence gathered from visits to sexual offences court, to determine how much progress has been made towards the goal of children being able to testify in a safe, child-friendly environment.About the authors:The Centre for Child Law was established in 1998 and is based in the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria. The Director of the Centre is Prof Ann Skelton.The Centre contributes towards the establishment and promotion of the best interests of children in South Africa through litigation, advocacy, research and education.Table of ContentsFOREWORDACKNOWLEDGMENTSIntroductionBackgroundQuantifying compliance: Where we were compared to where we are3.1 Intermediaries3.2 Separate child witness testifying rooms3.3 CCTV systems3.4 One-way mirrorsReported experiences: A qualitative view of court services for child victims and witnesses4.1 Eastern Cape4.1.1 Lusikisiki Court4.1.2 Engcobo Court4.1.3 Qumbu Court4.1.4 Ngqeleni Court4.1.5 Mthatha Court4.1.6 Concluding reflections on the Eastern Cape4.2 Free State4.2.1 Welkom Court4.2.2 Odendaalsrus Court4.2.3 Bothaville Court4.2.4 Concluding reflections on the Free State4.3 Gauteng4.3.1 Cullinan Court4.3.2 Bronkhorstspruit Court4.3.3 Krugersdorp Court4.3.4 Palm Ridge Court4.3.5 Pretoria North Court4.3.6 Concluding reflections on Gauteng4.4 KwaZulu-Natal4.4.1 Durban Court4.4.2 Camperdown Court4.4.3 Pinetown Court4.4.4 Verulam Court4.4.5 Pietermaritzburg Court4.4.6 Concluding reflections on KwaZulu-Natal4.5 Limpopo4.5.1 Sibasa Court4.5.2 Giyani Court4.5.3 Louis Trichardt Court4.5.4 Concluding reflections on Limpopo4.6 Mpumalanga4.6.1 Middelburg Court4.6.2 Ermelo Court4.6.3 Nelspruit Court4.6.4 Mhala Court4.6.5 Concluding reflections on Mpumalanga4.7 North West4.7.1 Brits Court4.7.2 Mmabatho Court4.7.3 Lehurutshe Court4.7.4 Zeerust Court4.7.5 Lichtenburg Court4.7.6 Concluding reflections on the North West4.8 Northern Cape4.8.1 Barkly West Court4.8.2 Warrenton Court4.8.3 Hartswater Court4.8.4 Douglas Court4.8.5 Kimberley Court4.8.6 Concluding reflections on the Northern Cape4.9 Western Cape4.9.1 Atlantis Court4.9.2 Parow Court4.9.3 Wynberg Court4.9.4 Paarl Court4.9.5 Cape Town Court4.9.6 Concluding reflections on the Western CapeSurvey results: Observations and some recommendations5.1 Lack of accommodation5.2 Intermediaries5.2.1 Skills and competency5.2.2 Debriefing of intermediaries5.2.3 Evaluation of intermediaries’ performance5.2.4 Appointment of intermediaries – Contract5.3 Awareness of the needs of child victims and witnesses5.4 Lack of toys and other means to keep children busy5.5 Lack of refreshments for child victims and witnessesConcluding recommendations

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