33% of child rapes committed by teachers

John Jeffery says social and legal structures need to work together to make reporting rape easier for victims.

FILE. Deputy Justice Minister John Jeffery. Picture:GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development says specialised services are required to adequately deal with rape in South Africa.

The department has established more than 20 sexual offences courts and hopes to have more than 50 functioning in the next three years.

Legal experts, humanitarian organisations and academics will today attend the second day of the sixth Sexual Offences Indaba Conference where strategies and interventions will be discussed.

Deputy Justice Minister John Jeffery says social and legal structures need to work together in order to make the process of reporting rape easier for victims.

He says the department hopes the establishment of sexual offences courts has enabled victims to feel comfortable enough to take legal action.

The deputy minister also urged members of the public to provide input on how they think the police and legal practitioners can improve the way they deal with sexual crimes.

According to Jeffery, research published in the South African Medical Journal shows that only 1 in 25 people who are raped by someone they know report the crime to police.

He says the research has also found that 33 percent of child rapes are committed by teachers in this country.

Jeffery says the stigma that is still attached to rape is largely to blame.

"Only 1 in 13 women raped by a non-partner reported the incident to police while 1 in 25 women raped by their partner reported this to the police. The problem is that there's still a stigma attached to reporting rape."