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Child Justice

Booklet CoverWHAT IS THE CJA?
Prior to 1 April 2010, children who committed crime were dealt with, in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act 51 of 1977) which also deals with adults who commit crime. The aim of the CJA is to set up a child justice system for children in confl ict with the law. This means that children under the age of 18, who are suspected to have committed crime, will not be dealt with in terms of the normal criminal procedure which is used for adults, but the child justice process will be followed.

The CJA seeks to ensure that child justice matters are managed in a rights-based manner and to assist children suspected of committing crime to turn their lives around and become productive members of society by engaging with the child in restorative justice measures, diversions and other alternative sentencing options.

AGE GROUPS COVERED BY THE ACT

CJ AgesAccording to the CJA, a child is someone who is under the age of 18. The CJA is specifically intended for children between the ages 10 and 18. The CJA states that:

pdf Follow this link to read the booklet, leaflet, to view the poster or the wall chart.

pdf Department of Social Development's list of centres accommodating children: Awaiting Trial and Sentenced

pdf Child Justice Act: Accreditation of diversion programmes and diversion service providers, GG42576, GeN 541, 11 Oct 2019 [7.68mb]

 

BENEFITS OF THE ACT

 

TYPES OF OFFENCES

The Child Justice Act provides for three different categories of offences:

 

WHAT IS A PRELIMINARY INQUIRY?

In terms of the Child Justice Act an informal process called a preliminary inquiry will be held within 48 hours of the child’s arrest, before the first court appearance. The preliminary inquiry will be attended by different people, such as:

These people will meet to talk to the child about his/her circumstances, his/her family environment and the factors that may have led the child to commit the crime. They will also consider diverting the matter away from the criminal justice system.

 

DIVERSION

Diversion can be defined as the channelling of criminal cases involving a child away from the criminal justice system with or without conditions.

In essence the aim of diversion is to give a child offender a second chance by preventing the child from having a criminal record and to address the root causes of the criminal behaviour through an appropriate diversion programme or intervention.
Diversion may be considered in all cases, irrespective of the nature of the offence and whether or not previous diversions have been ordered in respect of a specific child.

The objectives of diversion are to:

Diversion may be considered during the trial in the child justice court until before closure of the state’s case.

The Child Justice Act provides for two levels of diversion. Level one diversion options apply to Schedule 1 offences (least serious offences) and include options such as:
• an oral or written apology to a specified person or persons or institution;
• formal caution, with or without conditions;
• placement under a supervision and guidance order;
• placement under a reporting order;
• a compulsory school attendance order.

NOTE: Child Justice Act: Accreditation of diversion programmes and diversion service providers: Invitation to apply. Comment by 31 Jul 2018, GG 41561, GoN 420, 6 Apr 2018

 

SENTENCING OPTIONS

The Child Justice Act provides a wide range of appropriate sentencing options specifically suited to the needs of children. Sentencing options include the following:

 

CHILD JUSTICE COURTS

Any court dealing with the bail application, plea, trial or sentencing of a child is regarded as a Child Justice Court.

 

STEP-BY-STEP SUMMARY GUIDE ON THE CHILD JUSTICE PROCESS

  1. A child is suspected to have committed an offence will be apprehended by the police and depending on the seriousness of the alleged offence the child may be warned, summoned or arrested to appear at a preliminary inquiry. 
  2. The child and his/her parents or care givers will be informed of the charges against the child, the child’s rights; the immediate procedures to be followed and the date, time, place where the child must appear in court.
  3. Every child who is alleged to have committed an offence must be assessed by a probation officer.
  4. The parent or care givers or police bring the child to court
  5. A preliminary inquiry will be held to inquire into the matter and to decide on how the appropriate way to deal with the child.
  6. At the preliminary inquiry there are four possible steps that may be taken:
    • If the child is in need of care or protection, the matter will be referred to the children’s court which will determine suitable interventions.
    • If the child accepts responsibility, it may be recommended at the preliminary inquiry that the child be diverted. If the child does not complete or comply with the diversion, he/she will be brought back to court.
    • If no diversion order is made by the court or the child is not found to be a child in need of care and protection the case is referred to the Child Justice Court for trial.
    • If the matter has been referred for trial in the Child Justice Court, the preliminary inquiry magistrate will decide on the detention or release of the child pending the finalisation of the criminal case.
    • At the end of the trial the child may be convicted and sentenced or acquitte.

 

NATIONAL POLICY FRAMEWORK Objectives of the Policy Framework

The NPF, as per the requirements of section 96 (1), include guidelines for the implementation of the priorities and strategies contained in the NPF; measuring progress on the achievement of the NPF and ensuring that the different organs of state comply with the primary and supporting roles and responsibilities allocated to them in terms of the NPF and this Act.
pdf National Policy Framework on the Child Justice Act, 2008 (Act 75 of 2008)

 

LEGISLATION

 

FORMS

 

NOTICES


RELATED JUDGMENTS

REPORTS

DOCUMENTS

USEFULL LINKS

 

 

EXPUNGEMENT OF RECORDS OF CERTAIN CONVICTIONS AND DIVERSION ORDERS

Section 87 of the Child Justice Act provides for the expungement of records of certain convictions and diversion orders
(1) (a) Where a court has convicted a child of an offence referred to in Schedule 1 or 2, the conviction and sentence in question fall away as a previous conviction and the criminal record of that child must, subject to subsections (2), (3) and (5), on the written application of the child, his or her parent, appropriate adult or guardian (hereafter referred to as the applicant), in the prescribed form, be expunged after a period of....read more pdf

For any enquiries regarding expungements by the Minister or DG of Justice and Constitutional Development, contact any of the following officials:
N Mhlaba – Tel: (012) 315 1388, E-mail: NMhlaba@justice.gov.za
R Morgan – Tel: (012) 315 1232, E-mail: RMorgan@justice.gov.za
K Mtshweni – Tel (012) 315 4665, E-mail: KMtshweni@justice.gov.za
A Ally – Tel: (012) 315 1601, E-mail: UAlly@justice.gov.za
S Breytenbach – Tel: (012) 315 1423, E-mail: SBreytenbach@justice.gov.za
P Mdungwane – Tel: (012) 315 1561, E-mail: PMdungwane@justice.gov.za
L Nieuwoudt – Tel: (012) 315 1278, E-mail: LNieuwoudt@justice.gov.za
A Steyn – Tel: (012) 315 1300, E-mail: ASteyn@justice.gov.za
F Willmot – Tel: (012) 315 1412, E-mail: FWillmot@justice.gov.za
F Heyns – Tel: (012) 315 1327, E-mail: FHeyns@justice.gov.za

OFFICIALS WILL ONLY CONSULT WITH MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC ON PRIOR ARRANGEMENT: PLEASE MAKE AN APPOINTMENT

Please note that the Director-General of the Department of Social Development, is responsible for the expungement of a record of any diversion order.
For further information please contact:
Ms Conny Nxumalo
Chief Director: Families and Social Crime Prevention, Tel: 012 312 7686, E-mail: connyn@dsd.gov.za
or
Mr Steven Maselesele
Director for Social Crime Prevention, Tel: 012 312 7065, Email : stevenm@dsd.gov.za

 

CONTACTS

All queries and complaints can be directed to the Office of the Chief Family Advocate:
Ms Josephine Peta
Tel: 012 315 1680, Email: children@justice.gov.za

ONE-STOP CHILD JUSTICE CENTRES (OSCJC

Matlosana OSCJC
Centre Manager: Mr Nkosana Tshabalala
Tel: 018 466 5500/ 082 607 1598 21591
Physical address: Benji Oliphant Road, Klerksdorp

Nerina OSCJC
Centre Manager: Harriet  Katangana Contact Details
Tel:  041 402 9830 / 083 432 9932
Physical address: Corner of Phyllis and Gumpert Street, Schauderville, Port Elizabeth, 6000
Postal address: Private Bag X 3904,  North End, PE,  6056

Mangaung OSCJC
Centre Manager: Ms Carol Steward contact details
Tel : 051 034 1904 / 083 302 6247
Email: steward@socdev.fs.go.za
Physical address: 28 Drente Street, Erlichpark, Bloemfontein, 9300