Group joins court bid to overturn 20-year time limit for sexual assault prosecution
TMG Digital | 2017-05-18 18:38:19.0
The application aims to challenge a section of law which gives the state a maximum of 20 years to prosecute a sexual assault while there is no such time limit for the crime of rape. File photo
Image by: iStock Images
The Teddy Bear Foundation‚ represented by the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) at Wits University‚ has been admitted to intervene in a case as amicus curiae or ‘friend of the court’ in a case involving a sexual offender for offences allegedly committed decades ago.
The case will be heard at the South Gauteng High Court on Monday.
The application aims to challenge a section of law which gives the state a maximum of 20 years to prosecute a sexual assault while there is no such time limit for the crime of rape.
This application was brought by eight individuals who say they were sexually abused as children.
“We wish to assist the court with this important issue and support the applicants’ position that it is in the public interest for victims of all forms of sexual violence to be able to access justice at any time‚” Sheena Swemmer‚ Attorney at the Centre for Applied Legal Studies‚ said in a statement.
CALS argues that children who are sexually assaulted are “most often unable to come to terms with the experience until later in life‚ and they do so in many different forms”.
“Typically‚ they disclose information about the experience over a long period as adults. Having a limited time in which they can report the crime effectively prevents these child victims from accessing justice‚” the centre stated.
“The protections offered to survivors of rape need to be extended to the survivors of sexual assault‚” said Shaheda Omar‚ Clinical Director at the Teddy Bear Foundation. “All sexual offences must be sanctioned by the law.
It is critical that all victims of sexual abuse be treated fairly and equally and be given the opportunity to be heard whenever they are ready.”