Understanding Sexual Violence
The legal processes surrounding Sexual Offences
Sexual offences involve sex without consent, unwanted sexual touching, or being forced to engage in humiliating sexual activity.
What happens when you report a rape (or other sexual offences)?
When a rape survivor reports a sexual or indecent assault to the South African Police Services,
statements are taken by uniformed police officers and a case is opened.
A detective from the FCS unit is then contacted to investigate the case further.
The police official will take your statement.
You need not be alone – a friend or family member can be with you while you make your statement, as long as he or she is not a potential witness in your case.
If you later feel that your statement is wrong or incomplete, you can make another statement.
You can make your statement in your own language (if it may be translated). You have the right to copy your statement. It may sometimes not be possible to get a copy immediately, but then you will get it later.
The police official will give you a case number and you must use this number whenever you want information about your case. If necessary, the investigating officer will make sure you are examined by an accredited health care worker, who will complete a medical report and collect medical evidence
You must make sure that the investigating officer knows how and where to contact you at all times, including when you move to another location, but it is a victim’s responsibility to notify the police official of any changes in address.
The investigating officer will let you know –
- When the suspect is arrested;
- if the suspect is released on bail;
- if you need to attend an identification parade;
- the date of the trial & when you will have to give evidence;
- and the outcome of the case.