National Policy Guidelines for Victims of Sexual Offences (continue)
 

SOUTH AFRICAN POLICE SERVICE (SAPS)
SUPPORT TO VICTIMS OF SEXUAL OFFENCES


Overview

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The following terms have been used in this document. To enable a complete understanding of the terms, clear definitions are provided.

Term

Definition

Rape

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 circumstances

(Common law)

Girls between the ages of 12-15 years can be the victims of statutory rape

Sodomy

For the purpose of this document it is the forceful penetration per anus between males

Indecent assault

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

Victim assistance/support by members of the SAPS entails:

  • treating victims/complainants and their families with respect and courtesy
  • 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

FCS Unit

Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit


Chapter 1 - Role Of The SAPS In Victim Support

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Introduction

We will give you a short background on the role of persons rendering assistance to victims of sexual offences.

Background

"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

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Overview

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:

  1. Introduce yourself and explain your role in the investigation and take the victim to a quiet room/area away from the main duty desk.
  2. 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.
  3. Find out if the victim is capable of laying a charge
  4. 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
  5. Contact the investigating officer as soon as possible. Remain with the victim until the investigating officer arrives
  6. 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 statement
  7. 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 by telephone:

  1. Ask the victim for the address from where he or she is telephoning.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 immediately.

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 Officer's Duties

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Overview

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

Aim:
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 the investigation.

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):

  1. Introduce yourself
  2. Take the victim away from the room (or area) where the incident took place to a private place (or area)
  3. Explain to the victim and family why it is necessary to secure the scene of the crime
  4. Obtain a brief version of the events from the victim
  5. Try to get a full description of the suspect. This must be circulated immediately (the suspect may still be in the area)
  6. 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 repeatedly.

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 308)

Stay with the victim
A police official must remain with the victim until the person who will take the matter further arrives.

Liquid restrictions
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 material used.

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).

Procedure
The following steps must be followed when dealing with the victim:

  1. 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).
  2. Obtain a brief description of what happened (in private).
  3. Ascertain whether the procedures have already been explained and if not, briefly explain your role and the subsequent police procedures.
  4. 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.
  5. Report everything the victim says using foolscap paper and file it under annexure B in the case docket (for future reference).
  6. 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 officer.


Note:
Adult victim:
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 be present.


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

Medical procedure
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 examination.

Once the examination has been completed, the victim will be allowed to bath.

Chapter 4 - Medical Examination (Victim)

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Overview

Introduction

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

Important:
Before any samples are taken the medical examination procedures must be explained to the victim. This may calm the victim

Samples required
The accredited health care practitioner may be requested to take one or all of the following samples:

Sample

Description

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

Nail scrapings

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:

Sample

Description

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

DNA

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

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Objective
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:

  1. The investigating must take place in a relaxed, private atmosphere
  2. 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.
  3. An investigating official must set aside more than enough time to take down a statement of this nature.
  4. Try to identify an interviewing room where there are few distractions and, if possible, without a telephone.
  5. Explain to the victim why certain intimate questions will have to be asked and that these questions are necessary to substantiate the allegations.
  6. The victim's statement must be comprehensive. (Rather write too much, than too little.) See checklist.
  7. 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.

Example:
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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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

Objective
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 statement:

  1. Paragraph statements

  2. Do not prime the victim - it must be his or her own statement (never ask leading questions)

  3. Full names (maiden name if applicable)

  • Age and date of birth
  • Identity number
  • Occupation
  • Residential address
  • Telephone number and code
  • Place of employment if applicable
  • Telephone number
  • facsimile number
  1. 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)

  2. Describe the scene of crime prior to attack

  3. Fully describe victim's clothing and victim's description (this may assist forensics and identification)

  4. Describe other victims (if more than one victim has been involved)

  5. Day and date. Specify day of week

  6. Clarify time - how did the victim know what the time was?

  7. Describe, if possible, any route taken by victim prior to attack

  8. Witness - any known to victim, other witnesses description and name (if possible) may link victim to suspect

  9. How suspect approached victim

  10. How suspect maintained control of the victim

  11. If restraints were used, did the suspect bring them with him or her or did they belong to the victim?

  12. Weapons etc., used, displayed, mentioned

  13. Exact words spoken by suspect. Use direct speech

  14. Exact words spoken by victim to suspect. Use direct speech

  15. If there is more than one suspect, briefly identify each by some distinguishing feature such as a moustache, facial mark, colour of shirt, etc

  16. Details of anything left at the scene by the suspect

  17. Describe anything touched by the suspect

  18. Did suspect have an escape route prepared prior to the attack

  19. 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

  20. Threats made by suspect - exact language

  21. Was there any resistance by the victim? Include reasons for resisting or not resisting

  22. If victim resisted, explain the suspect's reaction (speech, facial expression, physical reaction)

  23. Did the suspect force the victim into any particular physical position?

  24. Did the suspect photograph the victim?

  25. Describe if and how clothing was removed and by whom, and in what order - where the clothing was placed or left

  26. Was the victim made to dress in any specific items of clothing?

  27. Were these items brought to the scene by the suspect?

  28. Were any items of clothing stolen by the suspect?

  29. Did the suspect coerce the victim to use any specific words or sentences during the attack?

  30. Describe, in full detail, the sexual assault. Describe the acts. Was the victim given any options?

    Consider:

    Touching Where and by whom;
    Victim by suspect
    Suspect by victim
    Kissing 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
    Fetishism Particular attraction/request for certain object (clothing/perfume/baby oil)
    Voyeurism Watching a particular act (eg suspect watching victim masturbate)
    Fellatio Mouth to penis
    Cunnilingus Mouth to vagina
    Sexual sadism Beatings, burning, whipping, biting, twisting breasts, asphyxiation (strangulation) until victim is unconscious, painful bondage (tied up)
    Annullingus Licking anus
    Urination Urinating on victim
    Defecation Defecation of human waste matter (faeces) on victim
    Bestiality Forced to perpetrate sexual act with animal
    Sodomy Forced male penetration of the anus by penis

  31. If sexual intercourse took place, exact description of how victim felt (force, fear, fraud)

  32. How penis entered vagina (or other orifices)
    position of bodies
    position of hands
    position of legs

  33. Was suspect's penis erect?

  34. Was any lubricant used?

  35. Was the suspect circumcised?

  36. Did the suspect have difficulty in achieving erection or maintaining it or experience premature ejaculation?

  37. Was the victim forced, manually, to masturbate suspect to achieve or maintain his erection?

  38. Did suspect ejaculate? How did the victim know that the suspect had ejaculated?

  39. Did the suspect use anything to wipe his penis after the offence?

  40. 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?

  41. If tissues were used, what happened to them? Where did they come from?

  42. If oral sex occurred did victim spit out semen or vomit - if so, where?

  43. Was the victim told or forced to take any drugs or medication or alcohol by the suspect?

  44. Was there any blood anywhere? Describe on the victim or suspect or scene (of crime)

  45. 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

  46. Any specific threats made to victim not to report the offence. The exact words used must be given

  47. Any actions or words used to stop victim recognising the suspect

  48. Did the suspect take steps to avoid leaving fingerprints

  49. 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?

  50. Did suspect suggest they meet again? Give specifics

  51. Was the suspect curious about victim's life, family or previous relationships, sexual or otherwise?

  52. Did the suspect pay any compliments to the victim?

  53. Did the suspect make excuses for what he had done or apologise for it?

  54. Did the suspect make any mention of police procedures?

  55. How did attack end?

  56. How did victim leave the scene?

  57. How did suspect leave the scene? Was it by foot, by car, or bicycle?

  58. Did the victim tell anyone and when did he or she do so?

  59. A full description of the suspect(s) from head to toe

  60. Include description of clothing. It may be necessary to state what the suspect was not waring, eg a jacket

  61. Did suspect speak in language known to victim? Clarify

  62. Did suspect have an accent? Clarify, if possible

  63. Did the victim know the suspect? If the answer is in the affirmative, give details. Would victim be able to recognise suspect again?

  64. How was matter reported to police?

  65. Permission from victim for the examination of the scene of their property and for the removal of items for evidence and forensic examination

  66. Describe fully all property taken, including serial numbers, colours, sizes, identifying marks

  67. Get the victim to formally identify any property left by suspect at the scene

  68. Describe all the injuries inflicted on the victim

  69. Include the fact that victim did not consent, even if this is obvious

  70. Record the absence of consent for the removal of any of the victim's property by the suspect

  71. Is the victim willing to attend court?

  72. Make sure that the victim reads the statement thoroughly and that it is signed in all the right places

  73. When was the last time the complainant had sexual intercourse? If within 72 hours, control blood samples are required from all the partners

  74. 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)

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Overview

This chapter contains the topic on how to take samples from the suspect

Aim
Samples from a suspect are used to help in determining that the right person is to br prosecuted

Legal requirements
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 practitioner
If the suspect is traced he will be taken to the accredited health care practitioner and the following samples may be taken:

Sample

Description

Pubic hairs

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

Blood

Crime Kit 2 EDTA

Blood for determining alcohol content

Only required if this is a factor in the case. Blood or alcohol kit

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 taken.

Chapter 7 - Preventing Exhibit Contamination

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Introduction
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.

Inthis chapter
This chapter contains information about the prevention of contamination of exhibits

Exhibit contamination
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 may occur.

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 where possible.

  1. The police officer who visits the scene, or with whom the victim comes into contact, must avoid coming into contact with the suspect

  2. The victim and the suspect must not be transported in the same police vehicle

  3. The same police officer must avoid contact with the clothes of both the victim and the suspect

  4. 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

  5. Different work surfaces should be used to package all exhibits

  6. 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

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Introduction
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.

Identification parades

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

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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

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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:

  1. 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.

  2. Explain the meaning of 'in camera' to the victim, as the prosecutor may ask the magistrate to hear the evidence in camera.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

SAP 62
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 possible parole.


Issued by the South African Police Service
Private Bag X94, Pretoria, 0001