The following is an outline of the rights and obligations flowing out of the “160 Girls” court decision.
Rights belonging to girls/children and defilement victims
- Right to be treated equally and without discrimination (including a right to be equally protected by the law; a right to not be discriminated against by police on the basis of sex of age) (Constitution, art. 27)
- Right to be treated with dignity and respect (Constitution, art. 28)
- Right to be free from violence, and to be protected from all forms of violence and abuse (Constitution, art. 29 and 53)
- Right to access justice, including the right to have defilement cases properly investigated and perpetrators arrested, brought to court, and put in jail (Constitution, Art. 48)
- Right to report defilement and get help from police, without paying for police services;
- Right to obtain a P3 form from police free of charge; Right to medical treatment for defilement, free of charge.
Obligations of Police
- Respect, at all times, the rights of girls and defilement victims; Treat girls and defilement victims equally and with dignity and respect (Constitution, art. 21, 27, 28, 53, 244)
- Treat defilement cases seriously.
- Conduct prompt, effective, proper, and professional investigations into defilement.
- Ensure that defilement laws are enforced by investigating, making arrests, and putting perpetrators in jail.
- Must not ask for payment for fulfillment of any police duties, including payment for issuance of P3 Form and payment for motor vehicle fuel.
- Respond to defilement with the highest standards of professionalism (Constitution, art, 244)
- Deter defilement by ensuring that every perpetrator of defilement is punished; Send a message to the community that defilement is a serious crime with serious consequences.
- Take action against perpetrators who threaten defilement victims or their families.
- Do not discontinue a defilement case without seeking the advice of the Attorney General (Sexual Offences Act, s. 40)
Obligations of Community Members
- Report all incidents of defilement to police.
- Support defilement victims with any assistance they may need.
- Cooperate with police; provide police with assistance that may help police to apprehend and arrest the perpetrator.
- Always take actions that are in the best interests of the child.
- Do not tamper with evidence, take bribes from the perpetrator, intimidate witnesses or take any other actions that could interfere with police investigations (this is a criminal offence/obstruction of justice).
- Report any threats received by the perpetrator to police (or any attempts by the perpetrator to interfere with police investigations).