Challenge in prosecuting sexual offences: comparative study with other jurisdictions
Hadunka, Natasha Namusanje
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Sexual offences have been on the increase in Zambia and have continued to be a constant feature in the media with more and more reports of such offences occurring in society. This is despite the introduction of stiffer punishment such as the mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years to life imprisonment. This dissertation addresses the challenges in prosecuting sexual offences and conducts a comparative study with other jurisdictions. The dissertation through research found that there is indeed a high prevalence of sexual offences in Zambia. The causes identified include customs and myths, modernisation which has led to the breakdown in social values, ignorance of the law, economic deprivation, the dual legal system, peer pressure and alcohol abuse. This paper also highlights the adverse effects of sexual offences and these range from physical to psychological effects. The dissertation identified the challenges in prosecuting sexual offences to be legal technicalities such as corroboration and the requirement of a voire dire where a witness is a child to be impediments in the prosecution of sexual offences. Other impediments include low awareness levels among the poor and women of the availability of a formal justice mechanism of dealing with such offences, geographical factors which make the formal legal system inaccessible for most, incompetence of service providers and prosecutors, the jurisdiction of lower courts, lack of or inadequate health services due to the constraints faced by the medical field, customs and the dual legal system, and the economic cost of justice. The dissertation also made a comparative study of the legal framework and policies providing for sexual offences in Zambia and other jurisdictions namely; South Africa and Canada. It was established that these two states have made commendable progress in the fight against sexual offences through their legislation and introduction of new policies as compared to Zambia that we can emulate. The last chapter of this dissertation gives the conclusion and makes recommendations to the effect that there is need for parliament to enact a statute that specifically deals with sexual offences. It also recommends a statutory provision that can be used to compel an alleged offender to be tested for HIV. It is further recommended that a National register for sexual offenders is introduced in Zambia. The dissertation also calls for sexual offences courts to be established in the country and international instruments should be domesticated. Legislation should also be enacted to codify customary law in order to harmonise it with statutory law.
SubjectSex crimes--law and legislation--Zambia