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1 Quality in Alternative Care, International Conference, Prague, 4 th April 2011 INTERMEDIARY SERVICES FOR CHILD WITNESSES TESTIFYING IN SOUTH AFRICAN.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Quality in Alternative Care, International Conference, Prague, 4 th April 2011 INTERMEDIARY SERVICES FOR CHILD WITNESSES TESTIFYING IN SOUTH AFRICAN."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Quality in Alternative Care, International Conference, Prague, 4 th April 2011 INTERMEDIARY SERVICES FOR CHILD WITNESSES TESTIFYING IN SOUTH AFRICAN CRIMINAL COURTS GERT J JONKER, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, THE BETHANY HOUSE TRUST

2 Presentation outline Introductory remarks Challenge to civil society Bethany House Programs Overview RSA Criminal justice perspective Overview Program Child Witnesses 2

3 Introduction Former President and elder statesman Nelson Mandela in his 1 st State of the Nation address in 1994 said that: Our endeavours must be about the liberation of the women, the emancipation of the man and the liberty of the child... And so we must, constrained by and yet regardless of the accumulated effect of our historical b burdens, seize the time to define for ourselves what we want to make of our shared destiny 3

4 4 Introduction (cont) Bethany House Trust Established 1998 Childrens Charity (Supreme Court) Non Profit Organisation (Dept. Social Development) Public Benefit Organisation (Revenue Service) Child Protection Agency (Childrens Act) beneficiaries p.a.

5 Introduction (cont) Bethany House Programs Residential Care Child & Youth Development Centres Children found in need of care Children living & working on street Cluster Foster Care 5

6 Introduction (cont) Child Protection Services Victim Empowerment Child Witnesses Investigations Crisis Line Substance Abuse Diversion 6

7 Introduction (cont) Centre of Learning Curriculum development Professional Parenting Alternative Parenting Family Reconstruction Master Trainer Diversion Substance Abuse Sexual Offences Research 7

8 Introduction (cont) Pregnancy Care Centre Food Security 8

9 Introduction (cont) 2009/10 – 2.1m crimes reported to police murders (965 children) sexual offences ( children) assault ( children) serious assault ( children) 9

10 10 Project Unique Public-Private Partnership Bethany House, Dept. Social Dev & Dept. of Justice Commenced April 2003 Primary goal: ensure sustained, professional intermediary services to child witnesses Case management database application developed for scheduling and tracking of cases Data derived utilised in welfare / policing / judicial planning / budgeting Victim Profile Perpetrator Profile

11 11 Why Intermediary Services? Section 170A of Act 51 of 1977 as revised (Criminal Procedure Act) Not Automatic Procedure Children under age of 18 Pre-Trial Assessment to determine whether testimony in open court will expose child to undue mental stress Intermediary testifies to this effect Court may appoint competent person as intermediary Intention is to protect child witness from undue mental stress

12 12 Executive Summary 7 Magisterial Areas 11 Police Areas Criminal Cases Criminal Charges Child Witnesses Perpetrators

13 Team 13

14 Postponements 14

15 Charge Types 15

16 Child Witnesses / Magisterial District 16

17 Child Age 17

18 Child Gender 18

19 Perpetrator Age 19

20 Perpetrator Gender 20

21 Child / Perpetrator Relationship 21

22 Child / Perpetrator Relationship (cont) 22

23 Case Outcome 23

24 24 Challenges Court Proceedings Discretion of Judge / Magistrate Pretoria High Court ruling 2008 Constitutional Court Language used in court Low level of usage of intermediaries Multiple Postponements Cases Withdrawn in Court Poor investigation Evidence lost Intimidation of witnesses

25 25 Pre-trial intervention/s Medico Legal ARVs Court Preparation Post Trial Intervention/s Safety of witnesses Therapy Socio-Legal Centre Challenges (cont)

26 26 Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail Contact: Gert J Jonker Chief Executive Officer Bethany House Trust


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