Start main page content


According to the Medical Research Council (MRC) 1 in 9 women who experience rape in South Africa report the crime to the police. In their 2008 publication 'Tracking Justice: The Attrition of Rape Cases through the Criminal Justice System in Gauteng' the MRC finds that only 50.5% of the 2064 cases of rape examined in the study resulted in an arrest. Only 42.8% of those arrested were charged in court and trials commenced in less than one in five of the cases. The conviction rate was at 6.2% - equivalent to 1 in 20 cases. 

The MRC and CALS have partnered in 2015 to release an updated version of ‘Tracking Justice’ that extends beyond Gauteng to all nine provinces in South Africa. The project is called ‘Rape Adjudication and Prosecution Study in South Africa’ (RAPSSA).

RAPSSA is a study into the prosecution and adjudication of rape matters (including attempted rape) as reported by police. The cases that are the basis of the project were those reported to the police in 2012. The research focuses on the efficiencies and challenges of the criminal justice system in responding to rape. Initial findings suggest that  there has been little to no change since 2008.

In 2015 the crime statistics released by the South African Police Services only listed 'sexual offences' and did not provide statistics for different types of sexual offences such as rape or sexual assault. The statistics showed a decrease in sexual offences from 56 680 in 2014 to 53 615 in 2015. This decrease is misleading as the term 'sexual offences' groups together all sexual offences as defined in the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences And Related Matters) Amendment Act