Action Society calls on government to empower civil society organisation to assist in addressing the inefficiencies in the DNA testing and investigation processes to accelerate the prosecution of sexual offenders. Since the National Forensic Science Laboratories (NFLS) has ground to a near halt over 125,000 cases, of which 92% are sexual assault kits, have not been processed.
The first 48 hours of a case are the most critical. As a solution Action Society suggests that government assists communities to run self-management testing labs and use private detectives in order to fast-track findings and verify DNA information. Furthermore Action Society wants to emphasize the importance of implementing Sexual Offences Courts.
“This, together with the ability to do own testing and investigation, will lead to more and faster sentencing. We need to arrest and prosecute sexual offenders while evidence of their monstrous act is still fresh and at hand. These people need to be removed from our communities before they can destroy another life,” says Daleen Gouws, spokesperson of Action Society.
According to Gouws the timeframe between opening a case to sentencing must be shortened.
“Not only will this be more effective, it will also make the process more bearable for families. In order to stop sexual predators from repeating their crimes, victims must feel able to step forward. Due to lack of faith in system and extensive lawsuits which often result in dockets being lost or witnesses becoming unfit to testify, victims hesitate to report a crime.”
Action Society, a civil rights organisation that fights for the rights of the most vulnerable people in our society, says organisations like them can assist in making these suggestions a reality.
“Government can empower people within communities to gather and process all the information to ease the workload of prosecution authorities. Since DNA profiling is one of the most successful prosecutorial tools to identify rapists and violent criminals, self-management testing labs can be a good start,” Gouws concludes.
ISSUED BY: Action Society
DATE: 5 November 2020
FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES:
Spokesperson: Action Society,