Sexual Offences Courts: Better justice for children?
Child victims of sexual abuse are vulnerable witnesses who experience trauma and secondary victimisation when they testify in sexual abuse cases. Sexual Offences Courts aim to alleviate this problem in various ways. The main focus of this article is to examine the prescribed blueprint for Sexual Offences Courts in order to determine whether blueprint-compliant Sexual Offences Courts contribute to better justice for child victims of sexual offences. Each blueprint requirement is therefore analysed with the aim of determining whether possible advantages for child victims can be identified.The conclusion is reached that substantial advantages for child victims are provided by blueprint compliant Sexual Offences Courts. By 2005 54 Sexual Offences Courts were established countrywide and official statistics indicate that these courts are very successful. However, despite numerous commitments by government to establish more of these courts, a moratorium on the establishment of new courts was announced. It is argued that blueprint compliant Sexual Offences Courts do indeed provide better justice for children and therefore more of these courts should be established at a much faster rate.