Factors contributing to the conviction rates of child sexual abuse cases
The conviction rate for child sexual abuse cases in South-Africa is very low. The chances of a perpetrator being convicted is very slim, even if a case is reported. Some of the causes for the low conviction rates might be incomplete documentation, inexperience of social workers in child sexual abuse cases and lack of knowledge regarding child sexual abuse within the criminal justice system. The purpose of this study was to obtain an understanding of factors that influence conviction rates in child sexual abuse cases at the Teddy Bear Clinic in Krugersdorp. This study focused on cases that were finalised between the years 2012 and 2013. The researcher used 4 themes to analyse the documents, namely: The presence of the medical report, the interview with the child, the interview with the collateral source and the interview with the alleged perpetrator. This study revealed that although all of these factors are important in their own right, they are dependent on each other. The child's disclosure was deemed the most important factor when it came to child sexual abuse cases, since without the child's disclosure the case was thrown out of court. The child's disclosure alone was not always enough to insure a guilty conviction, and needed supporting evidence, such as a collateral source who supported the child's statement, medical evidence or the perpetrators confession. It was recommended that social workers do more thorough investigations during forensic assessments and the criminal justice systems be trained in matters regarding child sexual abuse.
- Humanities