NEW CRIMES AND OLD PROCEDURES: Can the new Sexual Offences Bill deliver on its promises?
In 1996 Dullah Omar, the then-Minister of Justice, established a project committee in the South African Law Reform Commission (SALRC) to investigate sexual offences against children. Eleven years later, having widened the scope of the legal reforms to include adults, the National Assembly finally passed the muchdelayed Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Bill (SO Bill 10 Nov 06 (SOBPC06)) on 23 May 2007. The Bill is ambitious, its objects being: ‘To afford complainants of sexual offences the maximum and least traumatising protection that the law can provide, to introduce measures which seek to enable the relevant organs of state to give full effect to the provisions of this Act and to combat and, ultimately, eradicate the relatively high incidence of sexual offences committed in the Republic’ (Sexual Offences Bill 2006: 9). This article briefly sets out some of the Bill’s content and then examines whether or not the Bill, in its current form, does indeed meet the high aims set for itself.
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