Circumstances that influence the finalisation of child sexual abuse cases in Tembisa
Ntlatleng, Morentho Johannah
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Child sexual abuse is a major problem in Africa. There are a large number of child sexual abuse cases which are opened on a monthly basis. Child sexual abuse is a very sensitive issue and therefore trained professionals are needed in order to deal with the issue. Proper investigations need to be conducted. Due to the sensitive nature of child sexual abuse cases, finalising such cases successfully becomes a major problem. Numerous departments play a role in the investigation of these cases such as the National Prosecuting Authority, the South African Police Service, the Department of Social Development, the Department of Health, non–governmental organisations (NGOs), etcetera. The community does not have an understanding of how these cases are dealt with and, as a result, they blame the police for not doing their work properly and being useless. The role players also blame one another for the unsuccessful prosecution of perpetrators in cases of child sexual abuse. For example, prosecutors may blame the police for poor investigations and the police may, in turn, blame prosecutors for releasing suspects from custody unreasonably and removing cases off the roll for no apparent reasons. Social workers may also be blamed for not doing their work properly and taking too long to submit the assessment reports. Doctors may also be blamed for failing to attend court hearings and for filing incomplete reports. Although the role players have their inadequacies in investigating these cases, the truth is that each of them has their own unique protocol for handling cases of child sexual abuse. Therefore, a need emerged to explore the circumstances that affect the finalisation of child sexual abuse. In response to this, a qualitative study based in Tembisa was conducted. The aim of the study was to identify the circumstances that contribute to the finalisation of child sexual abuse cases in Tembisa. From the survey it was clear that there are several contributing factors, such as the delay of DNA results, inadequate training of the role players, and service points that are understaffed. The researcher came to the conclusion that the successful prosecution of child sexual abuse cases lies with all the role players in the investigation of child sexual abuse.
- ETD@PUK