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South African Crime Quarterly

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In no certain terms: The court’s inconsistent approach to the role of sexual grooming when sentencing in cases of the sexual abuse of children under 16

Nicole van Zyl

Abstract


This article considers whether evidence of sexual grooming influences decisions by South African courts when passing sentence on offenders who have been found guilty of sexual assault or rape of children. By analysing judicial decisions, the article considers three themes – the lack of violence, the apparent consent of a child under 12, and the appropriateness of correctional supervision. The article concludes that evidence of grooming should play a role in sentencing decisions, as it forms part of the nature of the crime that the court is required to consider.




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