Department of Justice should join hands with civil society

It is essential that DOJCS collaborate and partner with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) that provide services to survivors to promote victim support at all stages of the justice system. This is according to Samantha Waterhouse, the project head of the Parliamentary Programme at the Community Law Centre when giving comments to the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DoJCD), NPA Annual Reports and the DoJCD Annual Performance Report on Sexual Offences 2013/14.

Waterhouse presented in parliament as part of the Shukumisa Campaign and she did this with Viviene Mentor-Lalu, the co-ordinator of the Shukumisa Campaign.In their presentation they said the reason why CSOs are important in the justice processs is because they provide a wealth of psycho-social support services.

They recommended that CSO stakeholders should be included in national, provincial and local level, not only NGOs also trauma and child development experts. So it crucial that DoJCS consult in a meaningful manner with CSOs providing services around the development of policies and operational plans addressing sexual offences. They also recommend that local level oversight forums should be established as a permanent feature of sexual offences courts.

However, the two said CSOs do not claim to be experts in policing or law but are experts in managing psychological impact and social consequences.