Following the news of the Constitutional Court’s dismissal of Bob Hewitt’s petition against his conviction for historical child sex offences, director of Women and Men Against Child Abuse (WMACA), Miranda Friedmann, said “It is unbelievably good news and a massive victory for adult survivors of sexual abuse. It shows that things are changing in South Africa and we are now a country that leads the way in standing up for victims of child sexual abuse no matter when the abuse occurred.”
Hewitt will now begin his 6 year sentence on Tuesday 20th September.
WMACA have worked closely with victims of Hewitt’s, and Miranda added “I want to pay tribute to people like Theresa Tolken and Suellen Sheehan, who showed such courage to relive their ordeals in court. They’ve shown that no matter how long since a sexual attack is committed, the perpetrator deserves the full punishment of the law. Without them Mr Hewitt would still be free and thought of as world renowned tennis player, now the world knows that he is a sexual molester of children. And there is nothing worse than this.
Essential to WMACA’s work is changing public opinion to these crimes, and Miranda says this case has been a watershed. “In the past, too many high profile paedophiles because of their fame, wealth and power have been protected and not faced the punishment and condemnation they deserved.” With this case, the public have shown they understand Mr Hewitt’s guilt and have pushed for the punishment he deserved. Today, that punishment is ensured”
WMACA have been at every stage of the court case, working with the prosecution legal team and pushing to see justice done. “I just want to thank Senior Public Prosecutor Carina Coetzee, Adv Stacey Barbaglia, Investigating Officer Delene Groble and the WMACA team for their commitment and dedication over the last 5 years for bringing Bob Hewitt to justice.” said Miranda.
WMACA is a Non-Governmental Organisation providing free help to victims of child abuse in South Africa, giving direct support to children through their Kidz Clinics in Boksburg and Alexandra and fighting for better rights for victims, proper sentences for abusers and public awareness of the terrible impact these crimes have on individuals, communities and society. It was founded by Miranda almost 20 years ago, and has been instrumental in changing laws, attitudes to abuse and the treatment of victims.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Interview requests should go direct to Miranda Friedmann on 0832506821.