National Policy Guidelines for Victims of Sexual Offences (continue)


1. Introduction

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  1. The Department of Correctional Services is by legislation authorised to implement a sentence of a court in the best interests of the judiciary, the offender and the community at large.
  2. All prisoners in the sentence category longer than 12 months' imprisonment must attend a parole board meeting, but special attention and sensitivity to the victim and the community in general is needed when dealing with rapists and sexual assault offenders.

2. Guidelines for institution committees when dealing with sexual offenders

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  1. The Institution Committee must identify these prisoners at their first meeting and report them to the multi-disciplinary team, which consists of a psychologist, social worker, religious worker etc.
  2. The presiding officer's remarks or recommendations must also be brought to the attention of the multi-professional team, as well as the Parole Board's attention.
  3. In all cases where the presiding officer submits a form J24, with his or her remarks/recommendations, copies of the J24 must be filed in the prisoner's institution file, a copy handed to the multi-professional team and to the Parole Board.
  4. In all cases where the prisoner was sentenced to 5 years and longer, a copy of the judge's remarks upon sentencing must be obtained from the registrar of the trial court for the Parole Board and multi-professional team.
  5. Intervention by the multi-professional team with sexual offenders must be given priority, particularly those offenders who have committed offences against children.

With regard to the availability of programmes for sexual offenders, the relevant development programmes and/or treatment programmes for all prisoners convicted of crimes of sexual violence will be provided as human resources are made available.

Added prerequisites which must be included in some treatment programmes entail that these offenders need to be motivated to change their behaviour and be willing to take responsibility for their actions.

3. Guidelines for parole boards when dealing with sexual offenders

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  1. In cases of serious sexual assault for which a long term of imprisonment was imposed, the Parole Board must approach the trial court on its views regarding the possible placement on parole of such prisoner prior to making any recommendation.
  2. Two members from the community or any person who may provide meaningful input regarding a specific case may be invited by the chairperson to attend such a parole hearing.
  3. When each prisoner attains his/her minimum detention period, a report must be submitted to the Minister/Commissioner by the Parole Board in terms of Section 63 of the Correctional Services Act, Act 8 of 1959 with regard to the prisoner's:
  • conduct;
  • adjustment;
  • training;
  • aptitude;
  • physical and mental state; and
  • the possibility of such prisoner relapsing into crime.
  1. When the minimum detention period has been served by a prisoner, the Parole Board must make a recommendation to the Minister/Commissioner, regarding:
  • the possible placement of such prisoner on correctional supervision; or
  • day parole or parole.
  1. The Parole Board must recommend the conditions and the period under which such prisoner should be released. In respect of sexual assault offenders, if parole is granted, stricter conditions of parole and supervision must apply. For instance, if the prisoner was convicted of an offence or offences that involved sexual abuse of children, conditions must be set that this person does not apply for work or volunteer for work where children are at risk.
  2. The Parole Board must take any written representation relevant to the case of any person, including the victim's into consideration when placement on parole is considered.
  3. When considering a prisoner's possible placement on parole, the Parole Board must consider, amongst others, the following factors:
  • previous convictions and frequency thereof;
  • remarks/recommendations by the presiding judicial officer;
  • nature and circumstances of the crime committed;
  • support system in the community;
  • the age and sex of the victim as well as the prisoner's age;
  • the relationship between the prisoner and the victim;
  • motive for the crime;
  • the exploitation of a relationship of trust e.g., a trusted family member, or school teacher, or friend;
  • length of sentence;
  • crime;
  • results of evaluations done by the multi-professional team;
  • risk posed to the community;
  • risk to the victim or the victim's immediate family;
  • behaviour and adjustment in prison; and
  • violation of previous conditions of supervision or parole or suspended sentences
  1. In respect of all sexual assaults, the Parole Board must also take the following additional factors into account:
  • Physical injuries sustained by the victim, especially those which require hospitalisation or prolonged intensive medical treatment.
  • Emotional (psychological) harm suffered by the victim(s) such as when a victim was forced to take part in a sexual act in front of family or friends, lack of regard for the physical condition of the victim such as age, pregnancy, physical or mental illness, or if the crime was committed in such a manner that it may cause future harm to the mental condition of the victim.
  • When more than one offender committed the sexual act, such as gang/group rapes;
  • Whether weapons or any simulated weapon were used; and
  • When the victim was forced to perform unnatural sexual acts, e.g., bestiality, sadism, etc.
  1. A victim who indicates that he/she wishes to know when the prisoner will be placed on parole or released, must give the investigating officer permission to write his/her name, address and ID number on form SAP 62. It will remain the victim's responsibility to keep the Commissioner, Department of Correctional Services, Private Bag X136, Pretoria, 0001, informed of his/her latest address.
  2. The Commissioner will inform the relevant Parole Board of the victim's particulars.
  3. The Parole Board must inform the victim in writing of the pending parole hearing, date of parole or release.

4. Conditional or unconditional release of sexual offenders

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  1. The Head of the Prison must furnish a copy of form G373 of all offenders, irrespective of the offence committed, whether conditionally or unconditionally released, to the South African Criminal Record Centre.
  2. The Head of Community Corrections must send the sentence details, date of placement, residential and work address and the date of sentence expiry, per letter, to the South African Police Service nearest to the probationer's/parolee's area of residence, for information.
  3. Prisoners released on parole remain under supervision until they have completed their sentences.
  4. A copy of form G373 must be furnished to the Department of National Welfare in all cases where sexual offenders are placed on parole or released, for their information and disposal.

Issued by the Department of Correctional Services
Private Bag X136, Pretoria, 0001