Allegations of sexual assault can be pursued at any time and are no longer restricted to 20 years‚ the High Court in Johannesburg ruled on 19 June 2017. The Constitutional Court has to confirm the high court ruling before it comes into effect. The Constitutional Court confirmation is expected soon. Judge Hartford has given Parliament 18 months to amend the law.
Judge Hartford declared Section 18 of the Criminal Procedure Act unconstitutional when she was ruling on the Frankel Eight case. The eight men and women had filed a civil lawsuit in 2013 against Sidney Frankel. The group accused Frankel of sexually abusing them as children.
Previously, the Act, held that crimes of rape may be prosecuted at any stage, but victims of sexual abuse crimes had to lay charges within 20 years.
Childline KZN Operations Manager, Adeshini Naicker said, “We welcome the ruling as it is a triumph for all sexual abuse victims. Because this applies to all sexual offences, this is more than just a victory for children, it’s also for adult survivors of sexual abuse. Victims dating back more than 20 years might now feel encouraged to report their cases”.