Chapter 14



14.3.1Legislative and Policy Framework


  • The South African Schools Act, No. 84 of 1996 [SASA]
  • The Criminal Procedure Act, Act 51 of 1977 as amended [CPA]
  • The Employment of Educators Act (No. 76 of 1998) [EEA]
  • The Children’s Act 38 of 2005 as amended [CA]
  • South African Council for Educators Act 31 of 2000 [SACE]
  • The Sexual Offences Act 32 of 2007 [SOA]
  • Judicial Matters Second Amendment Act 43 of 2013, Government Gazette 37255 of 2014 [JMA]





14.3.2Framework for the Development of School Policy on Dealing with Sexual and Child Abuse – The Role of the Educator

  • The Employment of Educators Act 76 of 1998 determines:
    • In Section 17 (1) that committing an act of sexual assault on a learner or student or having a sexual relationship with a learner of the school where he or she is employed, is an act of serious misconduct. Section 17(2) determines that any allegations in this regard must be dealt with according to the disciplinary code and procedures provided for in Schedule 2 of the Act; and
    • in Section 11 (1) (e) that an educator may be discharged from service on account of misconduct.
  • The South African Council for Educators Act 31 of 2000 :
    • The Code of Professional Ethics (formulated in terms of Act 31 of 2000; South African Council for Educators Act 31 of 2000 Code of Professional Ethics 3.6, 3.8 and 3.9) determines that an educator refrains from improper physical conduct with learners, from any form of sexual harassment of learners and from any form of sexual relationship with learners at a school; and
    • The name of an educator can be removed from the register if the educator was found guilty of a breach of the Code of Professional Ethics (Chapter 3 Section 23 (1) (c)).
  • The Children’s Act 38 of 2005 as amended by Act 41 of 2007 determines as follows:
    • Abuse means any form of harm or ill-treatment deliberately inflicted on a child, and includes:
      (a) assaulting a child or inflicting any form of deliberate injury to a child;
      (b) sexually abusing a child or allowing a child to be sexually abused;bullying by another child;
      (c) a labour practice that exploits a child; or
      (d) exposing or subjecting a child to behaviour that may harm the child psychologically or emotionally.
    • Sexual abuse, In relation to a child, means:
      (a) sexually molesting (The general meaning of ‘molesting’ regarding children is  to force  unwanted sexual attentions on a child) or assaulting (Assaulting can be a physical or verbal attack or a thread of bodily harm) a child or allowing a child to be sexually molested or assaulted;
      (b) encouraging, inducing or forcing a child to be used for the sexual gratification of another person;
      (c) using a child in or deliberately exposing a child to sexual activities or pornography; or
      (d) procuring or allowing a child to be procured for commercial sexual exploitation or in any way participating or assisting in the commercial sexual exploitation of a child
    • Mandatory reporting of abused or neglected children:
      The Children’s Act expands the list of professionals who are legally obliged to report abuse of children, but limits what must be reported:

      • sexual abuse
      • physical abuse causing injury; and
      • deliberate neglect.

Section 110 reads:

“(1) Any correctional official, dentist, homeopath, immigration official, labour inspector, legal practitioner, medical practitioner, midwife, minister of religion, nurse, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, psychologist, religious leader, social service professional, social worker, speech therapist, teacher, traditional health practitioner, traditional leader or member of staff or volunteer worker at a partial care facility, drop-in centre or child and youth care centre who on reasonable grounds concludes that a child has been abused in a manner causing physical injury, sexually abused or deliberately neglected, must report that conclusion in the prescribed form [Form 22] to a designated child protection organisation (Child Welfare South Africa, the Department of Social Development (DoSD), or the police) the provincial department of social development or a police official.”  [Emphasis and footnote added]

If a teacher comes across a child that shows signs of having been abused or neglected then the matter must be reported after taking certain factors into account. A conclusion that a child has been abused or neglected must be substantiated and, if the report was made in good faith, the person reporting will not be liable to civil action based on the report.

The General Regulations Regarding Children (Broad risk assessment framework to guide decision-making in provision of designated child protection services): The aim of the broad risk assessment framework contemplated in Section 142(c) of the Children’s Act 2005  is to provide guidelines for identification of children who are being abused or deliberately neglected and the assessment of risk factors to support a conclusion of abuse and neglect on reasonable grounds as contemplated in Section 110 of the Act.

Indicators set out in the Regulations:

  • Indicators of physical abuse:
    “… including bruises in any part of the body; grasp marks on the arms, chest or face; variations in bruising colour; black eyes; belt marks; tears around or behind the ears; cigarette or other burn marks; cuts; welts; fractures; head injuries; convulsions that are not due to epilepsy or high temperature; drowsiness; irregular breathing; vomiting; pain; fever or restlessness”;
  • Emotional and behavioural indicators of physical, psychological or sexual abuse:
    “… including aggression; physical withdrawal when approached by adults; anxiety; irritability; persistent fear of familiar people or situations; sadness; suicidal actions or behaviour; self-mutilation; obsessive behaviour; neglect of personal hygiene; age of child demonstrating socially inappropriate sexual behaviour or knowledge; active or passive bullying; unwillingness or fearfulness to undress or wearing layers of clothing”;
  • Developmental indicators of physical, psychological or sexual abuse:
    “… including failure to thrive; failure to meet physical and psychological developmental norms; withdrawal; stuttering; unwillingness to partake in group activities; clumsiness; lack of coordination or orientation or observable thriving of children away from their home environment”;
  • Indicators of deliberate neglect:
    “… including underweight; reddish scanty hair; sores around the mouth; slight water retention on the palm or in the legs; extended or slightly hardened abdomen; thin and dry skin; dark pigmentation of skin, especially on extremities; abnormally thin muscles; developmental delay; lack of fatty tissue; disorientation; intellectual disability; irritability; lethargy, withdrawal, bedsores and contractures”;
  • “… a disclosure of abuse or deliberate neglect by the child”; or
  • “… a statement relating to a pattern or history of abuse or deliberate neglect from a witness relating to the abuse of the child”.
  • The conclusion must be based on an assessment of the “total context of the child’s situation”. This means that focus must not only be given to one factor or indicator but different things must be taken into account to formulate a conclusion of abuse or neglect. The child’s total situation needs to be assessed and understood (See Children’s Act Guide for Child and Youth care workers First Edition January 2011; Chapter 7 General Provisions section 54).

Educators must also be aware that the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 2007 (Chapter 7 General Provinsions section 54) determines that any person who has knowledge that a sexual offence has been committed against a child must report such knowledge immediately to a police official.

The report should be made on Form 22 and sent to one of the three agencies (Child Welfare South Africa, the Department of Social Development (DoSD), or the police).

Once a report has been made to one of these three agencies, a social worker should be appointed to investigate the case and make recommendations on the kind of support needed by the child or family.

The Children’s Act requires government departments to work together to provide a holistic range of services. Due to the high level of demand for protection and prevention services it can take a long time before children receive the help they need from a social service professional (See Children’s Act Guide for Child and Youth care workers First Edition January 2011).

Failure to report is an offence with a penalty of a fine or imprisonment, or both (See Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 32 of 2007 Chapter 7 General Provinsions Section 54).

14.3.3Further Guidelines for the Development of School Policy on Dealing with Sexual and Child Abuse

  1. The difficulty of dealing with abuse
    • Most violence against children is perpetrated within a child’s familiar environment by people they know: This makes it very difficult to deal with the problem. Crimes such as rape, incest, child abuse, and sexual assault may be described as ‘domestic violence’ when they occur within a family, or within any structure that functions, or previously functioned, as a family. Often, adults, such as educators, who spend a lot of time with children are faced with the problem of attempting to intervene in these cases of sexual abuse. Educators, in particular, tend to build special relationships with learners and in those special relationships of mutual trust learners may rely on educators for help.
    • An unfortunate aspect of dealing with domestic violence is that the victim is not always willing to lay a charge against the perpetrator. The most common reasons for this are fear of intimidation, and the controlling behaviour the perpetrator has on the abused child. A child is helpless and powerless in this situation.
    • Sometimes a mother may believe her abused child, but has limited options and/or resources to deal with the problem. Possible reasons why women and their children may stay in an abusive family:
      • Financial dependence on the abuser;
      • Custody and maintenance problems for children;
      • Love for the abuser, and the hope that he will stop the abuse;
      • Having nowhere else to go;
      • Religious and cultural beliefs;
      • Pride.
    • Schools are often sites of violence for youth, and this shapes a particular role that educators at schools are expected to play. Educators are called upon to be pro-active in:
      • watching out for signs of abuse;
      • recording the abuse;
      • reporting the abuse; and
      • following the case up with the relevant authorities.
    • Not only are educators the ones who see learners every day and often provide perhaps the one stable factor in a child’s life, educators themselves are not exempt from being perpetrators of violence. This places an even more difficult task on other educators to expose guilty educators.
      To meet this challenging but very important role in reducing abuse and violence, what skills and knowledge do educators need?

      • Educators need to be aware of the role they are expected to play as educators, in the reduction of violence and/or sexual abuse at school and in the home.
      • Educators need to have a better understanding of what sexual abuse is.
      • Educators need to be able to look out for the signs that a learner is being abused, and need to know how to go about verifying that abuse is in fact being perpetrated.
      • Educators need to know what is expected of them in reporting the abuse, and what process to follow once they know a learner is being abused.
      • Educators need to know about interventions at school that will prevent further abuse from taking place and that will begin to address the underlying causes of sexual abuse.
    • In other sections, we outline indicators that educators should be aware of when looking for signs of abuse or violence. In relation to bullying, gangs, truancy, racism, guns and weapons, substance abuse and witchcraft, we suggest ways of dealing with the problems at school, and at a community partnership level. However, when educators are expected to deal with child and/or sexual abuse, perpetrated both at home and at school, the role that they are expected to play, is slightly different. We will outline this role in more detail.
  2. Educators need to be aware of the role they are expected to play in the reduction of violence and/or sexual abuse
    Educators need to take a pro-active role in identifying victims of abuse and in assisting them to deal with the abuse. Do not be passive or quiet about abuse. If you suspect that a learner is being abused, act on your assumption and investigate the matter further immediately. Schools and educators need to take responsibility for acting effectively and timeously in situations of abuse.
  3. Educators need to have a better understanding of sexual abuse
    • A child is sexually abused when another person, who is sexually mature, involves the child in a sexual activity that the older person expects to lead to sexual arousal. Child sexual abuse generally consists of three components:
      • Exploitation of a child;
      • The use of coercion; and
      • Gratification gained by the abuser.
        Such abuse takes many different forms. The most common sexually abusive behaviour inflicted on children is:
      • Verbal abuse.
      • Nudity, undressing, or exposing.
      • Covertly watching a nude child.
      • Kissing in an intimate way.
      • Fondling (touching the child in a sexual way).
      • Interfering with a child in a sexual manner.
      • Forcing a child to engage in any sexual act.
      • Sexual intercourse with a child.
      • Pornography (exposing a child to this and/or forcing a child to pose for pornographic material).
    • In an educational institution sexual abuse can also include the promise of improved marks or promotion in exchange for some form of sexual activity.
    • Educators have raped, sexually assaulted and otherwise sexually abused girls. Sometimes reinforcing sexual demands with threats of physical violence or corporal punishment, educators have sexually propositioned girls and verbally degraded them using highly sexualised language. At times, sexual relations between educators and learners did not involve an overt use of force or threats of force; rather, educators would abuse their authority by offering better grades or money to pressure girls for sexual favours or “dating relationships”.
    • Rape is one of the cruellest forms of violence in our society. The violation not only causes physical pain and harm to the victim, but long-lasting psychological harm. Rape irrevocably alters the way in which the victim perceives the world, herself, her environment and her safety. In most cases the complainant is a woman or girl, but men and boys are also victims of this violation.
    • There are many different ways in which women and girls are sexually abused. Common words used to describe this abuse include: ‘rape’, ‘date rape’, ‘gang rape’, ‘being forced to have sex’, ‘sexual violence’, ‘being abused’, ‘flashing’, ‘unwanted touching’. In this manual, the terms sexual violence or sexual assault are used to refer to all the ways – from physical force to verbal threats – in which a woman or girl may be made to take part in any kind of sexual act/s despite the fact that she does not want to (i.e. against her will).
  4. Educators need to be able to look out for the signs that a learner is being abused, and need to know how to go about verifying that abuse is in fact being perpetrated
    It is not possible for an educator to be certain that a learner is being abused, by identifying one or two indicators. Educators know their learners; they know how each learner usually behaves. When you see a change of behaviour in a learner, then you need to suspect that something is wrong. The list that follows consists of signs that may indicate that a learner is being sexually abused. Although these signs are not conclusive, a child who displays some of these symptoms, alongside a change in their usual behaviour, may be a suspected victim of child sexual abuse.

    • These include:
      • Unusual knowledge and/or curiosity about se;
      • Sexual acting out / masturbation
      • Withdrawal / being secretive;
      • Poor hygiene / compulsive washing;
      • Poor peer relationships;
      • Poor school performance;
      • Sudden unexplained gifts;
      • Sleep disruptions / nightmares / bed-wetting;
      • Acting out / aggressive / irritable;
      • Fear of undressing for sports etc;
      • Fearful of home life / running away;
      • Clinging / constant need for reassurance;
      • Tearfulness;
      • Regression;
      • Suicide attempts.
    • If you think that a learner is being abused, act immediately. You should record the learner’s behaviour over a few days or weeks. Write down behaviour changes and the learner’s reactions to classmates and other educators. You might try and speak with one of the learner’s friends, but keep this interview confidential.
      If you have a close relationship with the learner, you should try and speak to him or her.
      If the learner ends up confiding in you about the abuse, your first reaction to her confession will be very important in her healing journey. You need to tell the learner that:

      • I believe you;
      • I am glad you told me;
      • I am sorry this happened to you. You are very brave to tell me;
      • It is not your fault;
      • I need to speak to other adults in order to help you, but I will tell you everything that I am going to do and say.
    • The role of the educator is one of reporting the abuse and supporting the learner – not investigating the case. It is not your role to ask the learner for physical signs of abuse. Under no circumstances should you examine the learner. This needs to be done by a nurse or a doctor. You must tell the learner that you need to involve other adults to help stop the abuse. Give the learner options; she may or may not want to report the incident to the police. Inform the principal. He or she should, in consultation with you and an experienced social worker, (and the school governing body if appropriate) decide on how to handle the case.
    • Crisis intervention: rape
      In the case where you, as an educator, are the first person to see a learner who has been raped very recently, you should tell the learner that she must keep all the clothing that she is/was wearing at the time of the sexual assault and must not wash herself, no matter how badly she may want to. She must put her clothes into a paper bag or wrap them in newspaper. She must not place them into any kind of plastic container or packet, as this can interfere chemically with the evidence. Hair, blood, and/or semen may be found on her body or her clothes. If the survivor decides to report the attack, these samples will become crucial evidence against her attacker/s.

      • Warn the learner not to drink anything (even water), wash her mouth or take medicine before a doctor examines her, particularly if the attacker has forced the woman or girl to perform oral sex. The sooner a doctor examines her, the greater the chance that she/he will find strong evidence on the victim of her attacker, such as hair, blood or semen.
      • Discuss with the victim whether she would like to report the attack to the police. Many women and girls find it difficult to go to the police and she may not feel like making such a decision so soon after an attack.
  5. Educators need to know what is expected of them in reporting the abuse, and what process to follow once they know a learner is being abused
    If you, the principal, the social worker and the victim herself decide to report the abuse, you need to know what to expect.
    Your school needs to let the Department of Education’s district office know about the abuse. However, do not wait for a response from the district office: go ahead and report the abuse to the police.
    When a survivor arrives at a police station, she must inform the police officer at the charge desk that she wants to report a rape or sexual assault. A police officer is not allowed to refuse to open a docket, or tell the victim that she cannot lay a charge, or tell the victim that she does not have enough proof to do so.

    • Both the police and the South African Law Commission’s Report on Women and Sexual Offences in South Africa (1985) have acknowledged that a District Surgeon need not take the sexual assault survivor’s full statement before her medical examination. In fact, as medical evidence is crucial in sexual offences, the medical examination should take priority over the taking of the statement. It has also been argued that a woman or girl is in a much better position  (physically and emotionally) to make a full, detailed and comprehensive  statement once she has been examined and has had the opportunity to wash  herself and change into a new set of clothing. A full statement should only be taken by the investigating officer once the sexual-assault complainant has recuperated sufficiently to do so.
    • A survivor can report the incident at any police station. The station where the offence is reported must open the docket (investigation case file) and treat the offence as if it happened in their area. Once the initial investigation has been completed (the first statement has been taken and the medical examination has been done), the docket must then be sent to the station in whose jurisdiction the sexual assault occurred.
    • If a survivor does not want to go to a police station, she can contact the station telephonically and ask them to send a patrol car to her – wherever she may be. In certain areas, however, the police may not be able to do this immediately – they may be too busy or might not have enough patrol cars. If this is the case, the victim may have a long wait before the police can come to her. This is a problem that is common in township or rural areas. If the survivor has her own transport, this may be quicker. If she has no transport, it is advisable that she or the person who is making the call on her behalf, especially if the survivor is injured, emphasises the seriousness of the assault so as to make sure that the police arrive as soon as possible. Alternatively, an ambulance should be called to transport the woman or girl to the hospital. The hospital staff will then contact the police.
    • It is a survivor’s right to have a relative, friend or counsellor with her when she reports a sexual assault, and when a doctor examines her. It should be someone with whom she feels comfortable and who does not inhibit what she says. The support person cannot be a potential witness to the sexual assault incident. This is because her or his presence may influence the contents of the survivor’s statement and may result in her or his credibility being questioned at a later stage in court.
    • It is the survivor’s right to give her statement to the police in a private place. If a survivor finds it easier to talk to a police officer without friends or family listening to her, she may request to be on her own when she does so. If a police officer wants to take her statement in the charge office in front of other people, she can ask to move to a more private place.
    • A survivor is entitled to ask to speak to a female police officer. If there are no women on duty, she may ask an available police officer to find a policewoman, although this usually involves a longer wait. Some police stations have staff members who are specially trained to deal with victims of sexual assault.
    • The survivor has the right to make her statement in her home language.
    • If the police officer who is taking her statement does not speak her language, she/he must find someone to translate the survivor’s statement. If a woman or girl signs a statement that has been translated from her home language, she must ensure that the translation is accurate before she appears in court. If it is not accurate, the survivor should make a second statement to either the Investigating Officer or to the prosecutor, explaining the reasons for the inaccuracies of the first statement.
    • If nobody at the police station speaks the home language of the survivor, she has the right to ask the officer on duty to find either another police officer or someone from the court who can speak her language. She will then have to wait while such a person is located.
  6. Giving a Statement
    When a woman or girl reports a sexual offence to the police, her report is given a special number, called an OB (Occurrence Book) number. The OB number is very important, because it serves as proof that she reported the assault to the police. When reporting a sexual assault, a survivor has two options: to put the sexual assault on record, or to lay a charge.
  7. Putting the incident on record
    It is important for the survivor to tell the police clearly if she wants the sexual assault to be put on record only, and does not want the police to investigate the case any further. If the girl is under 18, the case will be investigated. A woman who is 18 years or older can choose to have the incident recorded without an investigation. She will have to sign an affidavit (sworn statement) to this effect. Once the survivor has made her statement, the police officer must refer her to a relevant organisation within that area for counselling and support.
    Where sex occurs with a girl under 16 even if the man claims she consented, the law will prosecute the man as if the girl had not consented.
  8. Laying a charge
    If the woman or girl wants to lay a charge, the first officer receiving the report will open a docket. The docket will be given a criminal administration number (CAS number), which the complainant must write down. This is called a ‘skeleton docket’ and is necessary in some situations, for example, where the alleged perpetrator is at large and a description of him by the complainant may lead to a quick arrest. The police officer must then contact an Investigating Officer as soon as possible. If a woman or girl lays a charge, the police will investigate her case and she may have to go to court.
  9. Making the statement
    • According to SAPS guidelines, an initial statement must be taken, then the medical examination should be done, followed by an in-depth statement that must be taken once the sexual assault survivor has recovered sufficiently (depending on circumstances, ideally from 24 to 36 hours after the assault). However, most often the police will try to get a very detailed story from the survivor when they first speak to her, so that they can start trying to find the person/s who attacked her straight away. If she is badly hurt or very upset, the police may decide to take a short statement from her initially followed by a longer statement afterwards.
    • The sexual assault survivor will be asked a number of questions, ranging from her name, address, and occupation to the details of the assault. The police officer must write down everything she says in what is called a statement. The complainant may also choose to write the statement herself, or ask a friend to write it for her. The police officer will then rewrite this statement in her/his own writing.
    • It is important that the victim describes what has happened to her in as much detail as possible. This can be difficult and upsetting, and it may take a long time. However, it is essential to give the police as much information as possible. The sexual assault survivor should tell the police the whole truth about the incident/s – even if she is afraid that certain details might be used to discriminate against her (for instance, the clothes she was wearing, drugs or alcohol she consumed, or kissing the accused prior to the assault, etc). This fear arises from myths about rape, which are perpetuated in society. If the survivor is a credible witness, and her telling the truth from the beginning is the best guarantee of this, there is much more likelihood of a successful prosecution.
  10. Checking the statement
    • Once the survivor has finished making her statement, the police officer will ask her to read it and then sign it. Alternatively, the survivor may ask the police officer, or someone else, to read her statement back to her, slowly. The survivor must then initial every page and sign it at the end. It is very important to make sure that everything that happened to the victim is written in exactly the way that she told it. If there are mistakes, or if she is not happy with the contents of the statement, she may request that changes be made before she signs it.
      It is crucial for the complainant not to sign her statement until she is completely satisfied with the way it has been written. This statement may be used against her in court.
      If the survivor remembers any information, which she did not mention in her original statement, she must inform the police and have it added to the statement.
      The sexual assault survivor’s statement is extremely important: it is the main article of proof that the court will use to try and win her case and the police use the statement as the basis for their investigation of the case.
    • The complainant has the right to obtain a copy of her statement. The police can use carbon paper to make a copy of her statement. In this case she must ask for a copy of her statement before the police officer starts to write it down. If she is not given a copy, she must request one. If the police station has neither carbon paper nor a photocopying machine, the complainant should arrange to fetch a copy of her statement within the next week.
  11. Ensuring a conviction
    • South African law does not give mention to “sexual assault” specifically, but deals with different kinds of crimes such as rape, indecent assault, and incest. A man who sexually assaults a woman or girl can be charged with one or more of these crimes. If the authorities decide that there is not enough proof to charge a man with rape or attempted rape, then they can charge him with a less serious crime like indecent assault. Less serious crimes have lighter sentences (such as a fine, or shorter period in prison).
    • Sometimes a man may be charged with less serious crimes than those a woman or girl has reported, making the woman or girl feel angry or disappointed. A small consolation is that a man can be found guilty of the less serious crimes, even when the proof is not strong. This means that there is a good chance that a man who has sexually assaulted a woman or girl can be punished in some way; even if she thinks that the punishment is not severe enough for what he has done. When reporting the incident you should keep this in mind. Always ask the police to charge the man with indecent assault as well as the main charge.
  12. Attempted Rape
    This is when a man tries (or attempts) to rape a woman or girl. This means that he tries to place his penis into, or against her sexual organs, but does not succeed at doing so, because the woman or girl fights him off, or someone comes along, or something happens and he is stopped.
  13. Indecent Assault
    The law describes indecent assault as “an assault, which is in itself, of an indecent character”. Acts of indecent assault include a man or woman interfering with a learner’s body in a sexual manner.
  14. Incest
    Incest is when a man and a woman (or girl), who are prevented from marrying by law because they are family, have sex together. Following this law, it is a crime for a girl’s (or woman’s) father, stepfather, grandfather, uncle, brother, cousin or adoptive father to have sex with her.
  15. Crimen Injuria
    The law describes crimen injuria as the “unlawful, intentional and serious infringement of the dignity or privacy of another”. A person’s dignity is rooted in self-respect, peace of mind, and privacy. Crimen injuria occurs when a person sends you pornography, makes rude suggestions to you, or spies on you (a “Peeping Tom” or voyeur) when you are undressing.
  16. Vital information
    Before leaving the police station, you should ensure that you and the learner write down or have copies of the following because you will need this information to follow up on the case:

    • The OB and CAS numbers of her case (these numbers are essential if she wants to find out anything about her case from the police or the court).
    • A copy of her statement, or a time when she can fetch one.
    • The telephone number of the police station.
    • The name and serial number of the officer who took her statement.
    • The name and serial number of the officer who will investigate her case (if the police are unable to give her this name when she reports the case, they must provide her with the name and contact number of an officer who can provide her with this information the following day).
    • A letter from the police, which the complainant can hand to any police officer if she sees the person/s who assaulted her, so that the police officer can then arrest him/them.
    • The name and phone number of the CID (Criminal Investigation Division) Branch Commander (this person is the head of all the investigating police officers).
  17. Educators need to know about interventions at school that will prevent further abuse from taking place and that will begin to address the underlying causes of sexual abuse
    • Intervention programmes to prevent abuse
      The Problem Successful Interventions Useful Resources
      Many children are unaware of the fact that they are being abused. The most common approach to abuse is through education. By educating children about what abuse is, what places to avoid, what to do if they are abused, and where to go for help, abuse can be both prevented and addressed when it does happen. Educators who are knowledgeable about child abuse, and have a good relationship with their learners. They should also be familiar with the process of reporting the abuse.
    • Dealing with common problems
      Common Problems Solutions That Have Worked
      When children are abused, the abuser often threatens the child or their family to ensure that they do not tell anyone about the abuse. Children need to be educated about their rights and at the same time be assured that the school will treat information as confidential. In addition, they can be told of anonymous services like Childline and the Safe Schools National toll-free call line.
      Few children feel comfortable with telling an adult about abuse. Look for less obvious signs of abuse like symptoms listed above. If there is any concern that a child is being abused, the child should be sent for counselling and, if necessary, medical treatment.
      Parents deny the abuse. Some parents are perpetrators of abuse and will therefore deny it, other parents are afraid that their security in the home will be threatened by the abuser. The school needs to work with parents to reduce child abuse.
      Learners do not know how to react if in a compromised situation. Learning self-defence and building confidence.
    • How can victim empowerment build a healthy school?
      • Victim rights apply to learners and educators at school. The way in which an incident of crime or violence is handled at school will affect the way in which both the offender and the victim think about crime, justice, authority and equity in the future.
      • Educators, Representative Councils of learners and school governing bodies play an important role in ensuring that appropriate action is taken after an act of violence, and that the victim is empowered to move on without anger.
      • Educators and learners do not need to deal with the problem of crime and victim empowerment at school on their own, but can draw on the Network of Victim Empowerment Practitioners. Serving the needs of victimised youth is essential not only to the vision of a safe and peaceful school but also of a safe and peaceful society.
      • Empowered victims help with police investigations by reporting the crime and making a statement. Once a suspect is arrested, their evidence helps decide whether or not bail should be granted. They help with the prosecution, conviction and sentencing of the offender by being a witness for the State, in order to ensure that the offender cannot commit any more crimes.
      • Empowered victims are less likely to continue the cycle of violence. When a learner at school feels as if he or she has been empowered to contribute to the successful conviction of an offender, she/he feels that justice has been done – and is not left with feelings of anger and revenge.
        What are the basic steps to victim empowerment?
        Step one: Brainstorm why victim empowerment might be helpful in building your school as a safe and healthy school.
        Step two: Find out about community-based victim support initiatives in your area (see whom to contact at the end of this section).
        Step three: Set up a committee of concerned parents, educators and learners who are willing to work as school representatives on the community-based victim support initiatives.
        Step four: Let the school community know how they can access these community initiatives to give support in reporting and dealing with crime and violence.
    • What do community-based victim support initiatives offer?
      The police official who takes the victim’s statement, the investigating officer, the health worker or educator who first learns about the incident, or even the prosecutor who will take the case to court, can all refer victims to Victim Support Initiatives in their area.
    • Victims can access victim support themselves. Services may differ from area to area but generally they offer:
      • A shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen.
      • Help in contacting family or friends.
      • Help in dealing with victims’ feelings after the violence or crime.
      • An explanation of the process that needs to be followed in reporting the crime.
      • Help in communicating with the SAPS and later with the prosecutor.
      • Practical help and advice to avoid further problems.
      • Referral to a professional counselling service if the victim was traumatised by his/her experience.
  18. Helpful National Contact Numbers
    • Childline
      Offers counselling and support to victims.
      Crisis line: 08000 555 55
    • LifeLine
      Offers 24 hour telephone counselling service, HIV/Aids, trauma, rape, youth counselling, training and outreach programmes.
      Tel: (011) 728 1347, (021) 461 1111, (031) 232323
      Web site:
    • Agisanang Domestic Abuse Prevention and Training (ADAPT)
      Deals with domestic and sexual abuse, youth who experience abuse.
      Web site: Agisanang Domestic Abuse Prevention and Training
      Tel: (011) 885 3332
    • NICRO
      Offers community victim support, youth development and diversion, and trauma counselling.
      Tel: (021) 422 1225
      Web site:
  19. Learner Pregnancy
    Guidelines for managing learner pregnancy cases are provided at Chapter 14.10


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