BEHAVIOURAL SCIENCE EVIDENCE IN CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE PROSECUTIONS IN SOUTH AFRICA: A JURISPRUDENTIAL AND COMPARATIVE INSIGHT
Keywords:child sexual abuse, behavioural science evidence
The role of behavioural science (BSE) in proving the occurrence of child sexual abuse (CSA) is well documented. Equally, its role in placing the evidence of the CSA victim into proper perspective is undisputable. South Africa stands out as one of the very few or perhaps the only criminal justice system in Africa which has over the years admitted BSE in CSA prosecutions. This potentially makes it a source of good practice for many criminal justice systems in Africa and the world over. Despite the many years of admitting BSE in CSA prosecutions, little is known about the critical role it has played thus far, the gaps in the courts’ current approach to BSE and how these gaps can be addressed. The present article, with reference to selected recent case law from South Africa and comparative case law from America, analyses the critical role of BSE in affording broader redress to CSA victims. The article identifies the gaps in the current approach of the courts in South Africa. Drawing from the approach of selected courts in America, it suggests additional reforms which may be relevant if the potential of BSE in CSA prosecutions is to be fully and appropriately exploited.
How to Cite
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.