'New sexual offence laws counterproductive'

The proposal eliminates the crimes of statutory rape and statutory sexual assault, replacing them with rape.

Picture: freeimages.com

CAPE TOWN - The Teddy Bear Clinic for abused children has lashed out at a new proposal by state law advisors to amend the country's sexual offences legislation, saying it's destructive and counterproductive.

The proposal eliminates the crimes of statutory rape and statutory sexual assault, replacing them with rape.

This would mean a 16- or 17-year-old would be charged with rape if they have had consensual sex with a younger child.

The Teddy Bear Clinic's Shaheda Omar said, "Rape is a very serious offence. Unlike statutory rape, it is treated as a schedule three offence, which is the most serious category of offences. This means a child may be arrested for the offence."

The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development has been tasked with amending existing legislation after the Constitutional Court ruled that sections of the act are unconstitutional.