DAWN welcomes strike down of 20 year Expiry on Prosecuting Sexual Offences

The DA Women’s Network welcomes that the South Gauteng High Court has declared section 18 of the Criminal Procedure Act unconstitutional. This section stated that all sexual offences, other than rape prescribe after 20 years.
This provision has meant that crimes such as sexual assault could not be prosecuted after 20 years and thus had the effect of denying victims their constitutionally protected right to justice.
The DA Women’s Network welcomes this decision by the court as it has the potential to afford all survivors of sexual violence the opportunity to approach courts for legal recourse and get the justice that is due to them even if the crime is reported numerous years later.
All sexual offences are serious in nature as the victims of these crimes often have to experience the adverse and far-reaching effects long after the crime has been committed.
Declaring section 18 of the Criminal Procedure Act unconstitutional is a major achievement in the fight against sexual abuse. We anticipate that the Constitutional Court will agree, and we look forward to the law being amended as soon as possible.