Sexual Offenses Amendment Act Passes in South Africa
Tuesday, December 18, 2007 1:03 PM

The Sexual Offenses Amendment Act reforms legal definitions and penalties for sexual violence in South Africa. The amendment increased the penalty for sexual exploitation of children and the mentally disabled. The legal definition of rape was expanded to include sexual penetration from objects and male-on-male assault.

With the new amendment, victims can request a court order to compel their attacker to take an HIV test. This provision will not come into effect until March 2008 due to legal complexities.

Last year in South Africa more than 50,000 cases of rape were reported.  According to women’s rights groups, only one in nine rapes are actually reported to the police.

Compiled from: “South Africa’s Tougher Laws on Rape Go Into Effect,” Women’s United Nations Report Network, 14 December 2007.