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Types of Sexual Offences in South Africa


- Featured article by LAWYERS-ONLINE.CO.ZA - April 2019

In South Africa, sexual offences are defined in the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act of 2007. Since the inception of this amendment, sexual offences are now gender-neutral, and the types of offences have also been expanded with a register for sex offenders now in existence. Chapter 2 of the act sets out what constitutes a sexual offence and we will be taking a broad look at what types of sexual offences there are under South African legislation.

  1. Rape and compelled rape
  2. Sexual assault, compelled sexual assault and compelled self-sexual assault
  3. Incest, bestiality and sexual acts with a corpse
  4. Compelling a person over the age of 18 to witness sexual offences, sex acts or indecent exposure.

In Chapter 3 the act goes on to define sexual offences against children including statutory rape and sexual exploitation of children. Lastly, Chapter 4 addresses sexual offences against persons who are mentally disabled, including exploitation, sexual grooming and exposure to pornography or child pornography.

It is evident that South African legislation has come a long way in addressing sexual offences and creating a citable definition thereof. And though the scope of the act is vast, it has broadened the definition of the types of sexual offences in South Africa, making it easier for victims to come forward and to be seen as victims.

If you require any legal advice regarding the types of sexual offences as found under South African law, please do not hesitate to reach out to us and we can assist with putting you in touch with a lawyer who can offer more insight.

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