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Community-based summit on Sexual Offences

18 Feb 2015 - 16:00

The Gender Health and Justice Research Unit (GHJRU) together with the Centre for Disability Law and Policy and other partners hosted a civil society summit on the implementation of the Sexual Offences Act.  Organised by GHJRU Senior Researcher Hayley Galgut, this community-based dialogue, held at a Delft community centre, attracted over 150 participants every day. It brought together community members, NGO’s, state representatives from the criminal justice system, social development and health departments as well as researchers, experts and practitioners in the field of sexual offences. It was held with the aim of promoting accountability of government, particularly where it has committed itself through law to ensuring fair, equitable and speedy access to justice for victims of rape and other sexual offences.

The summit provided a safe space for individuals and organisations alike to discuss their experiences with the sexual offences legislation. The summit also provided a forum for the discussion of the challenges and improvement of current service provision for vulnerable groups such as children, LGBTI individuals, refugee and asylum seeking populations and women in rural communities.

All throughout the 3 day summit, multiple stakeholders engaged in productive dialogue concerning the inadequacies of current legislation and services to survivors of sexual violence. Additionally, the space allowed for community members to access free legal advice and engage with government representatives and academics on a face-to-face level.