Are the Sexual Offences Courts in South Africa serving their purpose?
The sexual offences court which were shutdown between 2007 and 2008 were reintroduced in South Africa by the Justice Department in 2013.
According to Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng, Vice-chair of Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition, there are about 55 Sexual offences courts in the country and only about 18 are functional.
She says of the 18 that are functional only a few function optimally. There should be showers available, victim support services, private waiting rooms for reporting and taking victims statements, and the counseling should be happening immediately, she says.
We know that rape is a medical emergency. There should not be delays in getting treatmentDr Tlaleng Mofokeng, Vice-chair of Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition
She says the centres are there, but they are not providing the services for which they are intended.
In south Africa we don't really put enough time in training our health workers in clinical forensic medicineDr Tlaleng Mofokeng, Vice-chair of Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition
Dr Tlaleng also spoke about the court in Khayelitsha which is housed in a container and located too close to the local legal aid centre.
Rape survivors are likely to bump into their attackers, who’d be visiting the legal aid centre, when the victims are visiting the court, she says.
Dr Tlaleng says the location of both the legal aid centre and Sexual Offences Court could incite mob justice in the community when the victims cross paths with their perpetrators.
Listen to the full conversation below: