SOUTH AFRICAN POLICE SERVICE (SAPS)
SUPPORT TO VICTIMS OF SEXUAL OFFENCES
The following terms have been used in this document. To enable a complete understanding
of the terms, clear definitions are provided.
Intentional, unlawful sexual intercourse with a woman without
her consent. Sexual intercourse includes the penetration of the labia
majora (outer lips of vagina)
Girls under the age of 12 years cannot legally consent to
sexual intercourse, therefore it will always be rape, irrespective of
Girls between the ages of 12-15 years can be the victims of
For the purpose of this document it is the forceful penetration
per anus between males
An assault which, in itself, is of an indecent character.
This includes sodomy and all other forms of sexual assault
Accredited health care practitioner (district medical officer)
For this purpose it is a person with medical experience who
has been appointed by the Department of Health to conduct medical examinations
in this regard. (Includes what was formerly known as the district surgeon)
Victim assistance/support by members of the SAPS entails:
- treating victims/complainants and their families with respect and
- taking statements in a professional manner
- providing victims with information on their case number as well as
details of the investigating officer
- informing/educating victims about the procedures of the police (investigative)
and the criminal justice system
- providing advice on crime prevention
- referring victims to medical and/or counselling and support services
in the community
Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit
Chapter 1 - Role Of The SAPS In Victim Support
We will give you a short background on the role of persons rendering assistance
to victims of sexual offences.
"VICTIM ASSISTANCE/SUPPORT" is the basic principle of the rendering of a service
by the Police.
It is the right of any person to know that if they lay a complaint with the
Police, the complaint can expect professional service. The SAPS must attempt
to meet the expectations that people have. These guidelines have been developed
to assist members of the SAPS to deal with victims of sexual offences.
The person who approaches the Police for assistance is often the victim of
a crime or an offence.
As victim support is one of the pillars of community policing, the SAPS must
treat every victim with the necessary respect, empathy and professionalism.
Chapter 2 - Sexual Offence Reported
It is important that until the contrary is proved, allegations of sexual offences
are to be accepted as such.
A sexual offence complaint can be received by telephone or the victim presents
himself/herself at a station to lay a charge of rape or any other sexual offence.
If a case of sexual offence is reported to the Police, it must be given immediate
attention. Remember to treat the victim as you, yourself, would wish to be treated.
Sexual offence reported in person
If a victim presents himself/herself at a police station outside of the jurisdiction
of either the victim's home OR where the alleged rape/sexual offence occurred,
the case must be dealt with by the station where the offence is being reported.
The station where the offence is reported will open the docket and treat the
offence as if it had happened in their area. The docket must then be sent to
the victim's home station once the necessary actions have been taken.
The following steps detail what must be done if a victim presents himself/herself
at the station to report a case of an alleged sexual offence:
- Introduce yourself and explain your role in the investigation and take the
victim to a quiet room/area away from the main duty desk.
- Ask the victim for his/her name and address and establish if the victim
is in need of medical assistance. If so, arrange for it immediately.
- Find out if the victim is capable of laying a charge
- The first officer receiving the report is to open a docket and take basic
details which must be filed in the docket under annexure B
- Contact the investigating officer as soon as possible. Remain with the victim
until the investigating officer arrives
- Attend as far as possible to any medical injuries. As medical evidence is
crucial, the medical examination should take priority over the taking of the
- The statement should be taken only by the investigating officer, once the
victim has recuperated sufficiently to do so.
Sexual offence reported by telephone
The following steps detail what must be done if a sexual offence is reported
- Ask the victim for the address from where he or she is telephoning.
- Find out if the victim is in any immediate danger eg., weapons. A patrol
vehicle must be sent to the victim's address immediately to secure the crime
scene and assist the victim. Emphasise that the victim should not change his/her
clothing nor wash himself/herself as evidence could be lost.
- Ask the victim if he or she needs an ambulance. If an ambulance is required,
request one to e sent immediately to the victim's address.
If someone makes a telephone call to the SAPS saying that a sexual offence
has been committed, a patrol car must be sent immediately to the relevant address.
Follow the steps detailed below:
- Ask the person who is reporting the sexual offence for the address where
the victim can be found. Ask the person not to leave the victim alone, not
to touch anything and not to allow the person to wash.
- Find out if the victim is in any immediate danger and send a patrol vehicle
immediately to secure the scene and assist the victim. If he/she is in danger,
send a patrol vehicle immediately to the scene.
- Ask the person who is reporting the crime if the victim needs an ambulance.
If an ambulance is requested, request one to be sent to the victim's address
Extra care and assistance
An accountable adult person should accompany victims under the
age of 18 years and the Child Protection Unit/Specialised worker must be
contacted. If the initial report is made by an adult, the child concerned
should not be present as the child could be unduly influenced. If the child
has been accompanied by an adult, the child should not be left alone while
the report is being made.
An accountable adult person should accompany mentally handicapped
victims and be present when the statement is taken.
In the case of a drunken or drugged victim, open a skeleton
case docket and take the victim to the accredited Health Care practitioner.
In the case of an unconscious victim, an ambulance and a patrol
vehicle must be sent to the address immediately.
Keep talking to the victim once the details have been received
from the victim and the patrol vehicle (or ambulance) has been requested,
try to stay on the telephone talking to the victim. Although this may not
always be practical, staying on the telephone until assistance arrives will
help reassure the victim. Obtain a description of suspect/s and alert all
vehicles in the area. Reassure the victim that you have dispatched the necessary
help and that the police will be there shortly to help him or her. Ask the
victim not to wash himself or herself as this may compromise the evidence.
It will be useful to explain to the victim the procedure that will be followed.
It may be overwhelming for the victim to be given detailed information about
legal procedures at that stage.
- A victim can lay a charge at any time. There is not time restrictions in
this regard. No victim should be turned away and the investigation should
proceed in the prescribed manner.
Chapter 3 - First Officer at the Scene and the Investigating
This section covers the duties of:
- the first police officer who arrives at the scene of the crime; and
- the investigating officer for the case.
The responsibility of the first police officer arriving at the scene
The primary responsibility of this officer is to ensure that the scene (and
the surrounding area) remains untouched and that the victim supplies a full
description of the suspect (if not already given).
Two crime scenes
In sexual offence cases there are two crime scenes:
- The victim himself or herself; and
- the place where the incident took place, if this can be determined.
Secure place where the alleged sexual offence took place
It is extremely important that the scene of the crime and the surrounding
area be secured to ensure that the evidence remains intact. The responsibility
to safeguard the area where the incident occurred, rests with the first officer
at the scene. Ensure that the scene is not disturbed by the victim, any witnesses
who may already be on the scene, the media or police officers not involved in
Speak to victim
The following steps should be taken when talking to the victim (remember
that, at this point, intimate questions should not be asked):
- Introduce yourself
- Take the victim away from the room (or area) where the incident took place
to a private place (or area)
- Explain to the victim and family why it is necessary to secure the scene
of the crime
- Obtain a brief version of the events from the victim
- Try to get a full description of the suspect. This must be circulated immediately
(the suspect may still be in the area)
- Contact the detective on standby or the FCS unit to attend the scene
Listen to and comfort victim
While waiting for the investigating officer to arrive at the scene, the attending
officer may talk less formally to the victim. Do NOT leave the victim alone
until the investigating officer arrives. Listen to what the victim says and
try to put him/her at ease. Do not interrupt the victim when he/she is talking.
(If a police official keeps interrupting the victim to obtain the facts, it
is possible that important, spontaneous statements by the victim may not be
made.) Write everything down that the victim says, using foolscap paper and
file it under annexure B of the case docket. Show empathy (understanding), not
sympathy (pity), towards the victim.
Inform victim of police procedures
Explain the role of every police official in the process:
- investigating officer
- fingerprint experts
- photographer/video unit
- tracing unit/crime prevention unit
Advise victim of case confidentiality
Victims are often worried that everyone will know the intimate facts of the
case. Explain to the victim that only the relevant persons will know the exact
facts and that it will not be necessary for the intimate details to be told
Explain about the medical examination
Inform the victim that if he/she wishes to continue with the case, a medical
examination will be necessary. The medical examination must be carried out as
soon as possible and will be done by the accredited health care practitioner.
The investigating officer will make the necessary arrangements. (Complete SAP
Stay with the victim
A police official must remain with the victim until the person who
will take the matter further arrives.
If it has been established that the victim has been indecently assaulted in
his or her mouth, liquid must not be offered to the victim, as evidence may
be lost by this.
Each case should be dealt with according to its own merits. This restriction
is applicable only if the victim has not already rinsed his or her mouth as
an oral swab can be taken only within 6 hours after the incident.
If the victim needs to urinate, he or she must be advised to retain any sanitary
Earn the victim's trust
As the investigating officer has to obtain very intimate details from the victim,
it is essential to try to win the victims trust during the first meeting.
Registration of case docket
The investigating officer's first responsibility is to register a case docket.
The case docket must be registered before:
- The accredited health care practitioner will examine the victim, and
- a suspect may be arrested and/or held in custody
If, for any reason, an investigating officer is unavailable to register a docket,
it remains the responsibility of the first officer on the scene.
Victim's particulars unknown
If the victim's basic details are unknown as a result of injury, shock, trauma,
unconsciousness or inebriation, a <skeleton' docket must be registered (eg.,
the state as per constable X).
The following steps must be followed when dealing with the victim:
- Identify yourself by stating your rank and full name. Again, state your
first name (or name that the victim may use when talking to you). (The victim
may feel more at ease on a first name basis rather than the full rank and
name of the officer).
- Obtain a brief description of what happened (in private).
- Ascertain whether the procedures have already been explained and if not,
briefly explain your role and the subsequent police procedures.
- Do not ask too many questions during the first meeting. Concentrate on eliciting
relevant detail necessary for the accredited health care practitioner's examination.
Avoid questions which cast the blame on the victim, and do not be judgmental
when posing these questions.
- Report everything the victim says using foolscap paper and file it under
annexure B in the case docket (for future reference).
- Provide the victim with the written case number and your personal details
as the investigating officer.
Offer support to the victim
Touching the victim unnecessarily must as far as possible be avoided. Once again,
show empathy and not sympathy.
Completion of the SAP 308 Form
An SAP 308 (permission for medical examination) must be completed by the investigating
The investigating officer must at the bottom of form SAP 308, record
precisely which samples he/she requires from the accredited health care practitioner.
Ensure that all the relevant details of the incident are noted on the SAP 308
or attached to it.
It is important for the investigating officer to escort the victim to the
accredited health care practitioner and thereafter to a place where the victim
feels safe (eg., the home of a friend or of a family etc).
A male officer may not be present during the physical examination of a female
victim. Depending on circumstances either a nurse or a female officer may
A child victim:
A child victim may be accompanied by parents or guardians. The safety of the
child must be secured by either arresting the perpetrator or placing the child
in a place of safety.
If the alleged suspect is the parent or guardian of the victim, permission
should be obtained from the other parent or guardian. If both are allegedly
involved, permission may be obtained from the victim's headmaster or teacher
or a magistrate. In an emergency, if none of these are available, a commissioned
police official may grant permission for the medical examination.
Clothes and other articles
Advise the victim that his or her underwear may be needed for forensic testing
by the police. Also advise him or her to take clean underwear when leaving home
for the investigation, as disposable underwear may not be available.
Inform the victim that he or she may request the return of the articles seized
after the conclusion of the criminal case.
Role of the Accredited Health Care Practitioner
Duties of Accredited Health Care practitioner
The investigating officer must explain the duties of the accredited health care
practitioner to the victim.
Responsibility of Accredited Health Care practitioner
The accredited health care practitioner may take certain samples from the victim.
The investigating officer must ensure that:
- correct samples are taken
- samples are clearly marked
- if samples are transported, that they are stored correctly
- the victim is not embarrassed or stressed more than necessary
It must be explained to the victim that the purpose of the examination is to
collect medico-legal evidence.
Any medical treatment that may be required will be provided by or arranged
at the health care institution.
Bathing or washing
It must be explained to the victim that bathing, showering or washing
before the medical examination will destroy any evidence that may be collected
and for this reason he or she must patiently wait until the end of the medical
Once the examination has been completed, the victim will be allowed to bath.
Chapter 4 - Medical Examination (Victim)
This chapter covers the medical examination that all victims must undergo if
a charge of rape or sexual offence is to be pursued.
Medical samples required of victim in sexual offence cases
Before any samples are taken the medical examination procedures must be explained
to the victim. This may calm the victim
The accredited health care practitioner may be requested to take one
or all of the following samples:
Swab (posterior fornix)
Glass smear of swab
Anal or oral swabs or smear where applicable
Swab must be air-dried. Crime kit 1 or 3
Swab must be rolled over glass slides. Do not use fixative
and do not put slides on top of each other.
Anal, oral or vaginal swabs and smears where applicable (it
must be dry before placing in tube)
Hair exhibit (foreign hair, not that of victim)
These must be combed from the victim's pubic area
Place the hairs in a soft paper envelope. Crime kit 4
Control hair samples from the victim's head and public area
A minimum of 20 hairs are required. These must be pulled from
different places of the victim's head. (Root of hair must be included)
These hairs are required from different places on the head
as there can be length and colour differences. Crime kit 4
They must not be cut from the victim. Place the hairs in a
soft paper envelope
Scrapings from under the nails of the victim if he or she
has scratched the suspect (only if blood was drawn). Crime kit 1
Additional samples required
Where groupings and comparisons are required, the following additional
samples must be taken:
A control blood sample of victim
All the suspects and all other parties with whom the victim
has had interrcourse within 72 hours (3 days) before the reported incident
must be gathered and a blood sample from each is to be taken. Questions
concerning parties with whom victim has had sexual intercourse must be
posed sensitively and must be asked in private.
Control blood samples must be in a fluid form, as well as
one coagulated blood sample (red-brown plug), and one EDTA blood sample
(purple plug). Crime kit 2
if DNA analysis is required details can be obtained from the
forensic science lab who will offer guidance in this regard
The accredited health care practitioner may also need to take an alcohol sample
and/or collect body fluid.
A blood-alcohol kit must be used for this purpose and be sent to the Department
of Health. Advice on contraceptive counselling may be given on request.
If sexual assault was not reported timeously (72 hours), make an appointment
with the medical health care practitioner. Even if the victim has washed, do
not discount the possibility that evidence could still be obtained.
Medical treatment required or requested
The greatest fear of most victims is that they may have contracted AIDS or
another sexually transmitted disease during the sexual offence.
If the victim has to receive any further medical treatment, he or she can be
referred to a primary health care centre.
If the victim does not wish to make use of a centre of this kind, he or she
may be referred to the private clinic of his or her own choice, on the understanding
that the treatment will take place at his or her own cost.
If circumstances permit, the investigating officer may take the victim to the
health care centre of his or her choice.
Chapter 5 - The Victim's Statement
The initial statement and examination of the victim need to be followed
up by an in-depth statement
Setting the scene or how to conduct in-depth questioning
Questions should be conducted in the following manner:
- The investigating must take place in a relaxed, private atmosphere
- Explain to the victim that the taking of the statement will involve the
giving of intimate details of the assault. If the presence of a third party
may inhibit the disclosure of these details, suggest that the third party
not be present. Bear in mind that a third party who may be a potential witness
to the reported crime may under no circumstances be present. If a joint decision
is made that a third party support the victim during the taking of the statement,
such third party may not comment on the merits of the case, prompt the victim
or interfere in any other manner.
- An investigating official must set aside more than enough time to take down
a statement of this nature.
- Try to identify an interviewing room where there are few distractions and,
if possible, without a telephone.
- Explain to the victim why certain intimate questions will have to be asked
and that these questions are necessary to substantiate the allegations.
- The victim's statement must be comprehensive. (Rather write too much, than
too little.) See checklist.
- The victim must be told, with great sensitivity, that if he or she has done
something that might put him or her in a bad light when he or she is cross-examined,
it is essential that he or she does not try to hide this fact or facts but
states it clearly.
An example of this could be if the victim had consumed liquor or
drugs. Exactly how much was used must be included in the statement. Yet another
example could be if the victim had originally found an accused attractive
and had allowed him or her to kiss him or her. This waring must, to repeat,
be given with great sensitivity.
- If the victim had consumed liquor or used drugs, this must be included in
their statement, as well as exactly how much and what was used/consumed.
- The fact that the victim acted in this way, does not mean that permission
was given to be sexually assaulted. A victim who states everything in his/her
statement, may, on the contrary, be a more credible witness.
Obtaining the Victim's Full Statement
The initial statement and examination of the victim need to be followed up with
an in-depth statement.
This statement must be taken as soon as the victim has recuperated sufficiently
(depending on circumstances, ideally between 24 and 36 hours).
The reason for this is that more detailed information can be obtained from
victim once she/he has rested.
Sexual offence statement checklist
The following is a checklist to assist you in the taking of the victim's
Do not prime the victim - it must be his or her own statement
(never ask leading questions)
Full names (maiden name if applicable)
- Age and date of birth
- Identity number
- Residential address
- Telephone number and code
- Place of employment if applicable
- Telephone number
- facsimile number
Detail of events leading up to the incident. (This will vary
according to circumstances and there will be more information in some cases
than in others)
Describe the scene of crime prior to attack
Fully describe victim's clothing and victim's description (this
may assist forensics and identification)
Describe other victims (if more than one victim has been involved)
Day and date. Specify day of week
Clarify time - how did the victim know what the time was?
Describe, if possible, any route taken by victim prior to attack
Witness - any known to victim, other witnesses description and
name (if possible) may link victim to suspect
How suspect approached victim
How suspect maintained control of the victim
If restraints were used, did the suspect bring them with him
or her or did they belong to the victim?
Weapons etc., used, displayed, mentioned
Exact words spoken by suspect. Use direct speech
Exact words spoken by victim to suspect. Use direct speech
If there is more than one suspect, briefly identify each by
some distinguishing feature such as a moustache, facial mark, colour of
Details of anything left at the scene by the suspect
Describe anything touched by the suspect
Did suspect have an escape route prepared prior to the attack
Continually describe the victim's state of mind during the whole
incident. What was the victim feeling or thinking in relation to each event
as it occurred
Threats made by suspect - exact language
Was there any resistance by the victim? Include reasons for
resisting or not resisting
If victim resisted, explain the suspect's reaction (speech,
facial expression, physical reaction)
Did the suspect force the victim into any particular physical
Did the suspect photograph the victim?
Describe if and how clothing was removed and by whom, and in
what order - where the clothing was placed or left
Was the victim made to dress in any specific items of clothing?
Were these items brought to the scene by the suspect?
Were any items of clothing stolen by the suspect?
Did the suspect coerce the victim to use any specific words
or sentences during the attack?
Describe, in full detail, the sexual assault. Describe the acts.
Was the victim given any options?
||Where and by whom;
Victim by suspect
Suspect by victim
||Suspect by victim
Victim by suspect
|Use of instruments
||Foreign objects used or placed in vagina, anus etc
|Digital penetration (fingers)
||In vagina or anus
||Particular attraction/request for certain object (clothing/perfume/baby
||Watching a particular act (eg suspect watching victim masturbate)
||Mouth to penis
||Mouth to vagina
||Beatings, burning, whipping, biting, twisting breasts,
asphyxiation (strangulation) until victim is unconscious, painful bondage
||Urinating on victim
||Defecation of human waste matter (faeces) on victim
||Forced to perpetrate sexual act with animal
||Forced male penetration of the anus by penis
If sexual intercourse took place, exact description of how victim
felt (force, fear, fraud)
How penis entered vagina (or other orifices)
position of bodies
position of hands
position of legs
Was suspect's penis erect?
Was any lubricant used?
Was the suspect circumcised?
Did the suspect have difficulty in achieving erection or maintaining
it or experience premature ejaculation?
Was the victim forced, manually, to masturbate suspect to achieve
or maintain his erection?
Did suspect ejaculate? How did the victim know that the suspect
Did the suspect use anything to wipe his penis after the offence?
Was anything done by the suspect to remove or stop semen being
left behind: eg forcing the victim to wash, combing victim's pubic hairs,
using a condom?
If tissues were used, what happened to them? Where did they
If oral sex occurred did victim spit out semen or vomit - if
Was the victim told or forced to take any drugs or medication
or alcohol by the suspect?
Was there any blood anywhere? Describe on the victim or suspect
or scene (of crime)
If a number of sexual acts were carried out, describe the exact
order in which they were committed and the speech used to victim, prior,
during and after
Any specific threats made to victim not to report the offence.
The exact words used must be given
Any actions or words used to stop victim recognising the suspect
Did the suspect take steps to avoid leaving fingerprints
Was any of victim's property taken to assist the suspect locating
him or her again? Was this taken to stop reporting the incident? Was this
mentioned specifically by suspect?
Did suspect suggest they meet again? Give specifics
Was the suspect curious about victim's life, family or previous
relationships, sexual or otherwise?
Did the suspect pay any compliments to the victim?
Did the suspect make excuses for what he had done or apologise
Did the suspect make any mention of police procedures?
How did attack end?
How did victim leave the scene?
How did suspect leave the scene? Was it by foot, by car, or
Did the victim tell anyone and when did he or she do so?
A full description of the suspect(s) from head to toe
Include description of clothing. It may be necessary to state
what the suspect was not waring, eg a jacket
Did suspect speak in language known to victim? Clarify
Did suspect have an accent? Clarify, if possible
Did the victim know the suspect? If the answer is in the affirmative,
give details. Would victim be able to recognise suspect again?
How was matter reported to police?
Permission from victim for the examination of the scene of their
property and for the removal of items for evidence and forensic examination
Describe fully all property taken, including serial numbers,
colours, sizes, identifying marks
Get the victim to formally identify any property left by suspect
at the scene
Describe all the injuries inflicted on the victim
Include the fact that victim did not consent, even if this is
Record the absence of consent for the removal of any of the
victim's property by the suspect
Is the victim willing to attend court?
Make sure that the victim reads the statement thoroughly and
that it is signed in all the right places
When was the last time the complainant had sexual intercourse?
If within 72 hours, control blood samples are required from all the partners
Victim's consent to forensic testing of articles seized for
examination and that the victim knows that the articles may be damaged in
the process of the forensic examination
Chapter 6 - Medical Examination (Suspect)
This chapter contains the topic on how to take samples from the suspect
Samples from a suspect are used to help in determining that the right
person is to br prosecuted
Section 37 of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act No 51 of 1977),
gives a police official the right to request medical samples.
Samples to be taken from the suspect by the accredited health care
If the suspect is traced he will be taken to the accredited health
care practitioner and the following samples may be taken:
These must be combed from the suspect's public area. Place
the hairs in a soft paper envelope
Control hair samples from the suspect's head
Minimum of 20 hairs are required. These must be pulled from
different places on the suspect's head. Crime kit 4
These hairs are required from different places on the head
as there can be differences in length and colour
They must not be cut from the suspect's head. Place the hairs
in a soft paper envelope
Crime Kit 2 EDTA
Blood for determining alcohol content
Only required if this is a factor in the case. Blood or alcohol
The accredited health care practitioner may also need to take an alcohol sample
and collect body fluid. A blood/alcohol kit must be used for this purpose and
the samples be sent to the Department of Health. A suspect cannot be tested
for Aids merely because he or she is a suspect or an accused person.
If the presiding officer, in the interest of the case, does not explicitly
order a suspect or accused's blood to be taken for HIV testing, it may not be
Chapter 7 - Preventing Exhibit Contamination
An allegation of any sexual offence is extremely difficult to prove
because, in general, there are no eyewitnesses. It is usually the victim's word
against that of the suspect.
As a result of the nature of this type of case the evidence is extremely important.
This chapter contains information about the prevention of contamination of exhibits
If exhibits from both the victim and the suspect are placed on the
same table or surface while they are being packed, contamination of the exhibits
Forensic science laboratory
From the moment the investigating officer takes the samples into possession
from the accredited health care practitioner, the SAPS is responsible for maintaining
the chain of evidence. The exhibits must therefore be marked and sealed properly.
In most cases the evidence of the forensic science laboratory is very important
to prove the case, or to refute the victim's or suspect's version of the events.
Guidelines to prevent contamination of exhibits
In order to ensure that contamination of the exhibits (including the
victim and suspect as they are both considered to be exhibits) does not occur
to take place, the following guidelines are provided and should be adhered to
The police officer who visits the scene, or with whom the victim
comes into contact, must avoid coming into contact with the suspect
The victim and the suspect must not be transported in the same
The same police officer must avoid contact with the clothes
of both the victim and the suspect
Ideally both sets of clothes should not be seized and packaged
by the same official. Remember the statements need to prove the handling
of the chain of evidence
Different work surfaces should be used to package all exhibits
In cases in which the suspect was arrested shortly after the
offence had been committed, the same police officer may not conduct an interview
with both the victim and the suspect, before the suspect and the victim
have dressed in other clothes and the clothes worn during the alleged attack
have been removed for forensic analysis.
Chapter 8 - Identification Parades
It is suggested that an identification parade be held when the identity
of the suspect/s is in dispute. If uncertain of the necessity therefore, the
investigating officer must liaise with the prosecutor in this regard as this
is yet another trauma the victim has to undergo. The importance and purpose
of the identification parade should be explained to the victim.
Where to hold an identification parade
An identification parade should, as far as possible, be held at a venue
or station where the facility of a one-way mirror is available. The officer
responsible for the identification parade must keep in mind that the legal representative
of the accused must be given the opportunity to be present at all times.
Explanation of procedure
The procedure should be explained to the victim before he or she is
exposed to the identification parade.
Identification of suspect
If an identification parade is necessary, all that is expected of the
victim is that he/she clearly identifies the suspect. The victim does not have
to touch the suspect.
Contact between victims
If more than one victim is possibly linked to one or more suspect, contact between
these witnesses must be avoided at all costs as this may seriously prejudice
future court proceedings. This is relevant at all stages of the investigation.
Chapter 9 - Victim Aftercare
Referral to counselling services
A list of all organisations in the area offering counselling must be
kept in every charge office and the victim must be informed that counselling
services are available.
Establish who is available in the area to render this service, eg 'Rape Crisis'
and 'Life Line'.
Help victim to get counselling
Although it remains the task of the police to investigate crime, an
attempt must be made, without losing objectivity and as far as practically possible,
to assist the victim throughout.
The choice about choosing an organisation remains the victims's. The police
will offer assistance in this regard.
In the case of children, refer to the CPU or a specialist for the procedures
that must be followed.
Chapter 10 - Assistance to Victim During Court Proceedings
Keep the victim informed
Always keep the victim informed of the progress of the case (eg bail
proceedings, court hearings).
Even if you do not have any positive progress to report, the victim will feel
reassured that their case has not been <forgotten' if regular reports are
made to them.
Prepare the victim for court
Although the victim must not be told what to say, it is the officer's
duty to put the victim at ease by explaining court procedures.
The following steps should be followed to ensure that the court process is
as untraumatic as possible for the victim:
Take the victim to the court where the case will be heard prior
to the day of the trial. Arrange a suitable time with the prosecutor. A
pretrial consultation with the prosecutor is imperative. Arrange for a specific
prosecutor to be allocated. Take the docket to court before the proceedings
to allow enough time for preparations.
Explain the meaning of 'in camera' to the victim, as the prosecutor
may ask the magistrate to hear the evidence in camera.
Give the victim his or her statement to read once again. Small
details can become important in the statement, particularly in court proceedings,
and this will help to prep-are the victim.
The victim will see reporters in court, which may distress him
or her. Reassure the victim that his or her particulars will not be published
unless authorised by the magistrate. (See section 335A of the Criminal Procedure
Act.) A child is always protected in this regard.
It is the duty of the police to inform the victim about the
possibility of delays in the court proceedings, and to encourage them to
persist with the case.
Pre-trial impact statement
A further statement from the victim must be obtained before he or she
gives evidence. It must describe eg nightmares, personality and or physical
changes. The purpose of this is to impress upon the court the impact the crime
has had on the victim.
Whenever a sentence of 2 years or longer is imposed by the court, a
SAP 62 form must be completed in triplicate. The importance of the detailed
completion of this form cannot be emphasised enough. The Parole Board relies
heavily on the investigating officer's input in this regard when determining
Issued by the South African Police Service
Private Bag X94, Pretoria, 0001