Terms of Reference for the Rapid Response Team to fast track pending and reported LGBTIQ+ related cases in the Criminal Justice System

The Working Group of the National Task Team established the Rapid Response Team comprising the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, National Prosecuting Authority, South African Police Service and representatives from civil society organisations. The purpose of the
Rapid Response Team is to urgently attend to the pending and reported cases in the criminal justice system where hate crimes have been committed against LGBTI persons. Hate crimes are defined as acts that are motivated in whole or in part by bias or hatred regarding an aspect of a person’s
identity (Nel, van Wyk, & Mbatha, 2013).1 Two key components of hate crimes can be identified: “The first is that the act constitutes a crime under existing criminal law (such as intimidation, arson, damage to property, assault, rape or murder); the second is that some form of specific bias was involved in the selection of the victim” (Nel et al, 2013, p. 6).

  1. Mandate of the Rapid Response Team
    1.1 Attend to the pending cases in the criminal justice system where hate crimes have been committed against LGBTI persons.
    1.2 Ensure efficient monitoring of reported hate crimes cases and provide support to the victim and follow the required procedures from the reporting stage to avoid pending cases from becoming backlogged.
    1.3 Develop an electronic data system to assist criminal justice role-players in collecting hate crimes related data.
    1.4 Develop an electronic tool which will:
    1.4.1 outline reported hate crimes with full details of the names of the victim, full details of the perpetrator/s, date of offence, date matter reported,police station where the case was reported, incident reported, court and case number, brief facts of the offence, status of the case, outcome of the case, information on sentencing in cases of convictions.
    1.4.2 promote accurate tracking of cases from arrest to prosecution to conviction;
    1.4.3 promote early identification of delays and other obstacles to the serving of justice;
    and
    1.4.4 inform prevention and intervention strategies and build and publish best practice.

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"“Equality means more than passing laws. The struggle is really won in the hearts and minds of the community, where it really counts.”

Barbara Gittings, American activist for LGBT equality