Amendments to the sexual offences act dealing with consensual underage sex: implications for doctors and researchers

SOURCE: South African Medical Journal
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2016
TITLE AUTHOR(S): S.Bhamjee, Z.Essack, A.E.Strode
KEYWORDS: CONSTITUTION, RISK BEHAVIOUR, SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR, SEXUAL OFFENCES ACT, UNDERAGED SEX
DEPARTMENT: Human and Social Capabilities (HSC)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 9071
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/9391

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Abstract

In terms of the Sexual Offences and Related Matters Amendment Act, consensual sex or sexual activity with children aged 12 - 15 was a crime, and as such had to be reported to the police. This was challenged in court in the Teddy Bear case, which held that it was unconstitutional and caused more harm than good. In June 2015, the Amendment Act was accepted by both the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces, and came into operation on 3 July 2015. This article looks at the amendments to sections 15 and 16 of the Act and what the reporting obligations for medical professionals and researchers are in light of the amendments, as well as the duty to provide medical services and advice to adolescents.