Sexual Offences Act to be amended
The Constitutional Court has given Parliament 18 months to amend sections of the Sexual Offences Act.
JOHANNESBURG - The Constitutional Court has given Parliament 18 months to amend sections of the Sexual Offences Act that criminalises consensual sexual acts between adolescents aged between 12 and 16.
The court ruled that it's not criminal for adolescents to engage in consensual kissing, petting or penetrative sex on the basis that it infringes on their right to dignity and privacy.
In the previous act, children between the ages of 12 and 16 could be prosecuted for consensual sexual acts.
The Teddy Bear Clinic for Abused Children, who lodged the case, says this is a victory and will allow the youth to seek advice about their sexuality without the threat of prosecution.
Parliament now has to amend the act, and must place a moratorium on all investigations and arrests relating to sections of the act that have now been declared unconstitutional.
The unanimous judgment, written by Judge Sisi Khampepe, was published on the court's website.
Khampepe said sections 15 and 16 of the Act were unconstitutional as it violated the right to human dignity.