Children - Legal advice PDF Print E-mail

Legal Advice for Children      

Here you can find out more about the law in any of the following situations. For example, what are your rights at school, or what are your rights if you have broken the law? These are just general outlines.

Please contact us if you have any questions, or require more assistance.

Dr  Ann Skelton
Tel:  +27 12 420 4502
Fax: +27 12 420 4499
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Breaking the Law

You need to remember that if you are in trouble with the law that you still have the right to be treated fairly and with respect. This includes being given the opportunity to get your life back on track, and to make the wrong that you have done right. The first offence may result in a reprimand, warning, diversion or charge.

Your rights include:

  • Not being tortured or, punished in a cruel inhumane way; and no person under the age of 18 may be given the death penalty or life imprisonment without possible release. But in South Africa there is no death penalty anymore.
  • Not being detained or imprisoned without good reason.
  • Should you be put in prison you must be treated with dignity and respect, you must be kept separate from adults, and your privacy must be respected.
  • You should be kept in prison for the shortest possible time. This means that you should be allowed legal help as soon after arrest as possible, and given a fair trial in court, if you are charged.

You need to also remember that you have the right to be seen as innocent until you have been proven guilty. You cannot be forced to speak in court, or forced to say that you are guilty. You are also allowed to question people who give evidence against you, call a person to give evidence on your behalf, and have everything that is said in court explained to you in a language that you understand.

This is a very brief overview of your rights when in trouble with the law.

Protection from Abuse     

You have a right to be protected from any kind of abuse, from anyone who might try to hurt you physically or emotionally.

This includes being protected from exploitation – for example where you are forced to work for little or no money.

You should also be protected from any sort of sexual abuse. This includes watching pornographic material, being forced to take part in a sexual act (like being touched in a place you don’t want to be touched, or being asked to touch someone else), being forced to have sex with someone else, or even being forced to become a prostitute.

This could be caused by someone you know very well. But it is still not right. It is okay to say no, and it is better to tell someone you can trust, as soon as possible. Remember, that you are not to blame.

 

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Latest News

18 May 2018

Centre for Child Law represented at Continental Conference on Access to Justice for Children in Africa

On 8 to 10 May 2018, the Centre's Karabo Ozah and Zita Hansungule attended the Continental Conference on
Access to Justice for Children in Africa held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Conference was hosted by the African
Child Policy Forum (ACPF) and Defence for Children International (DCI).

The discussions and deliberations dealt with a number of issues related to access to justice for children including:
legal pluralism in Africa and its impact on access to justice for children; access to justice for children in the context
of armed conflict; vulnerability and access to justice for children; access to justice for children with disabilities in Africa;
and technology and children's access to justice.

A new report from ACPF was launched at the conference: "Spotlighting the invisible – Justice for Children in Africa".
The Centre's Ms Karabo Ozah reflected on the report as a child right's expert. Ms Ozah reflections on the findings of the
report; highlighted practical realities dealt with in the report; and gave recommendations on the way forward. Ms 
Hansungule reflected on the litigation and advocacy work that the Centre has engaged in to ensure access for children
with psychosocial disabilities, in particular children with behavioural difficulties. 

At the conclusion of the Conference a call to action was adopted by participants. The call to action urged various duty
bearers to make access to justice a reality for all children on the African continent. The duty bearers include: African
Governments; AU Organs and Treaty Bodies; The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child; Civil Society Organisations;
International Non-Governmental Organisations; UN Agencies; Academic Institutions; and Development and Multilateral
partners.

The Centre for Child Law aims to use the report and call for action to enhance their work in protecting and promoting
the rights of children, in particular access to justice for children, in South Africa and work towards a child-friendly justice
system.

For more read an article on the University of Pretoria, Faculty of Law website here.

 

 

 

 

Centre for Child Law