An integrative review of South Africa’s approach to victim support

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 29, issue 3, 2019 , pages: 280–287
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2019.1619992
Author(s): Marelize SchoemanDepartment of Criminology and Security Science, South Africa


This integrative review seeks to consider the evidence on how crime victims’ rights are served within South Africa’s criminal justice system. Victims view criminal proceeding as the means through which justice for the harms they suffered can be obtained. Such aspirations are often misplaced since criminal proceedings are a legal process between the state and accused with the sole purpose of determining guilt or innocence. As such, the concerns of victims are secondary. Victim’s rights in South Africa was only truly acknowledged during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in 1995. South Africa’s victim empowerment policy is underpinned by restorative justice principles. Contradictory to legal procedures, restorative justice is not offender-driven, but aims to elevate the role of crime victims in the criminal justice system.

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