The Constitutional Protection Afforded to Child Victims and Child Witnesses while Testifying in Criminal Proceedings in South Africa
50 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2019
Date Written: May 27, 2019
The protection of child victims and witnesses in the criminal justice system is of vital importance, as present-day research studies conducted on the victimisation of children in South Africa show that South African children in particular experience and witness exceptionally high levels of crime, and consequently represent a significant portion of the victims and witnesses that have to appear in court to testify about these crimes. This contribution consists of an in-depth discussion of the rights of the child victim and witness encompassed in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 in order to determine whether the current protection afforded to child victims and witnesses while testifying in criminal proceedings in South Africa is in line with South Africa's constitutional obligations. In this regard the general constitutional rights in the Bill of Rights relating to child victims and witnesses as well as the specific constitutional rights of child victims and witnesses in section 28 of the Constitution are discussed.
Keywords: protection of child victims and child witnesses, constitutional protection of child victims and child witnesses, children’s rights, State obligations, section 28 of the Constitution of South Africa, section 170 of the Criminal Procedure Act, intermediary, secondary victimisation
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