Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 2007

WHEREAS the commission of sexual offences in the Republic is of grave concern, as it has a particularly disadvantageous impact on vulnerable persons, the society as a whole and the economy;

WHEREAS women and children, being particularly vulnerable, are more likely to become victims of sexual offences, including participating in adult prostitution and sexual exploitation of children;

WHEREAS the prevalence of the commission of sexual offences in our society is primarily a social phenomenon, which is reflective of deep-seated, systemic dysfunctionality in our society, and that legal mechanisms to address this social phenomenon are limited and are reactive in nature, but nonetheless necessary;

WHEREAS the South African common law and statutory law do not deal adequately, effectively and in a non-discriminatory manner with many aspects relating to or associated with the commission of sexual offences, and a uniform and co-ordinated approach to the implementation of and service delivery in terms of the laws relating to sexual offences is not consistently evident in Government; and thereby which, in too many instances, fails to provide adequate and effective protection to the victims of sexual otfences thereby exacerbating their plight through secondary victimisation and traumatisation;

WHEREAS several international legal instruments, including the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, 1979, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989, place obligations on the Republic towards the combating and, ultimately, eradicating of abuse and violence against women and children;

AND WHEREAS the Bill of Rights in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, enshrines the rights of all people in the Republic of South Africa, including the right to equality, the right to privacy, the right to dignity, the right to freedom and security of the person, which incorporates the right to be free from all forms of violence from either public or private sources, and the rights of children and other vulnerable persons to have their best interests considered to be of paramount importance.