South Africa

The Institute on Justice for Child Witnesses

  • Please list links to your Website and Social Media Platforms here:

The Institute on Justice for Child Witnesses
Facebook: Child Witness Institute & Foundation
Twitter: @TheCWInstitute

  • Describe in detail what your Organisation does:

The Institute on Justice for Child Witnesses fights for the rights and dignity of children in the criminal justice system. For nearly two decades, the Institute has been working to change the judicial landscape of the criminal justice system to take the unique needs of child witnesses into account.

The Institute trains and sensitizes stakeholders in the legal system on how to work appropriately and sensitively with child witnesses. Its research activities seek to identify and address underlying patterns of abuse, violence and victimisation that lead to these cases. It engages youth and community groups, intervening where necessary to educate, inform and help break pervasive cycles of violence, abuse and exploitation. It supports governments, civil society and aid agencies with project implementation that is aimed at developing and strengthening legislation, policies and implementation processes associated with judicial reform for child witnesses.

  • How long has your Organisation been operational?

Since 1998 (originally at Vista University). Our new entity was registered in 2015 as an NPO

  • In your opinion, what has been the most challenging aspect of running your Organisation?

Our most challenging issue has been that many countries don’t know about our work. Although we have worked in multiple Southern African countries, we need to increase awareness of our work in other countries.

  • Describe your Nonprofit Journey in three words:

Difficult, Lonely and Rewarding

  • Do you collaborate with other Causes? If yes, would you like to mention them?

UNICEF (long term technical assistance partner in Southern Africa)
Shukumisa (member organisation)

  • If you had one Organisation wish, what would it be?

To become a centre of excellence in the field of child forensics in order to provide qualifications for stakeholders working in this field, thereby increasing specialisation of skills and services to child victims of violence, specifically sexual violence.

  • In your opinion, which skills do Nonprofits in your Country lack?

Non profits in South Africa lack research skills. The issue of Monitoring and Evaluation needs to be strengthened.

  • Looking back at your Cause Journey, what advice would you give a newbie Organisation?

A new organisation must be clear on its purpose, persevere to implement it and develop strong networks and collaboration.

  • If you could change one thing about the Nonprofit Landscape, what would it be?

NPOs need governance and accountability. This would ensure both their protection as well as their monitoring. I would suggest an NPO ombudsman.

  • Which Cause achievement are you most proud of? Feel free to elaborate on why and include any links:

The Child Witness Institute has achieved many significant changes for child witnesses. The following list provides some detail:

South Africa
• Developed the Sexual Offences Court Model
• Developed policies relating to sexual offences
• Developed court intermediary system for child witnesses
• Conducted research on court intermediaries
• Developed qualification curriculum for court intermediaries
• Trained 1000s of court role-players on child witnesses
• Researched children’s and juvenile offenders’ perceptions of court
• Researched and developed developmentally relevant court preparation programmes for all child witnesses and their caregivers
• Contributed to the development of sexual offences legislation
• Provided pro bono expert assistance to specific victims of sexual abuse, including court reports and expert evidence
• Published widely on child witness issues

India
• Compiled a guide for working with child witnesses for the Delhi High Court

Australia and New Zealand
• Provided advice, research and inputs on the development of an intermediary system for child witnesses

Britain
• Contributed towards the development of the intermediary system for vulnerable witnesses

China
• Assisting with the development of an intermediary system for child witnesses

Zambia
• Built expert capacity across all disciplines in the criminal justice system
• Institutionalised specialised courses in most criminal justice system colleges

Swaziland
• Developed a specialist approach to child witnesses
• Developed a sexual offences court model
• Building specialised capacity across all disciplines in the criminal justice system
• Institutionalising specialised courses in the police training institutions

Namibia
• Building specialised capacity across all disciplines in the criminal justice system
• Developed a specialised, multi-disciplinary stakeholder group in the criminal justice system

USA
• Collaborating on the development of a Virtual Child Witness programme for Southern Africa

Egypt
• Participated in the Cairo Declaration on an ‘Africa Fit for Children’

Ethiopia
• Conducted a gender resocialisation workshop at the African Development Forum

Kenya
• Presented a pre-conference workshop at the First African Conference on Child Abuse

  • Last question, if your friends had to describe your Organisation in three words, which would they use?

Catalytic, specialist, effective

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