Towards a policy on naming and shaming of sex offenders in Botswana: lessons learnt from South Africa and United States of America

Master Thesis


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Sexual violence is one of the most pressing social and human rights issues facing Botswana today and as a result Batswana have demanded greater justice and punishment for sex offenders. The Government of Botswana have purportedly found the legislative solution for the problem of sexual violence in sex offender registration laws. This dissertation will consider whether sex offender registration laws can be an effective and a progressive solution to the sexual violence crisis in Botswana. This dissertation aims to show that an effective sex offender registration laws are dependent on the creation and maintenance of valid and reliable registers. With underreporting of sex crimes and if crimes are reported, the subsequent withdrawal and low conviction rates the register cannot be effective as sex offenders may never be registered. A comparative study undertaken between the United States of America and South Africa revealed that the register provides minimal benefits while significant resources are required to implement and maintain the registers. The conclusions drawn from this dissertation is that sex offender registers as a standalone intervention is not the most progressive and effective solution to the sexual violence scourge. This is because sex offender registers do not prevent the commission of the offence as the register only come into play once the offence has been committed and the offender is listed in the register. The fight against sexual violence therefore demands more comprehensive strategies and the Government of Botswana should place the prevention of sexual violence at the centre of all strategies, and not at the tail end of a reactive response.