As South Africa commemorates the 25th anniversary of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign, the South African Police Service (SAPS) shines a light on its devoted officers.
During this period (25 November to 10 December), SAPS is unveiling untold stories of its officers, specifically those who exceed their duty to safeguard women, children, and other vulnerable demographics.
Today’s focus is on Captain Karin Botha, a forensic social worker associated with the Germiston Family Violence, Child Protection, and Sexual Offences Investigations (FCS) unit.
Forensic Social Work represents a specialized realm within FCS, wherein social workers predominantly provide expert testimony in court proceedings.
A forensic social worker’s primary role involves conducting forensic interviews in cases of child abuse, utilizing age-appropriate techniques to extract accurate information from child victims, aiding courts in rendering just decisions.
Captain Botha boasts a Social Work degree and a Master’s in Forensic Practice.
Her career highlights include a notable case at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria earlier this year. There, a 42-year-old father received four life terms and an additional 73 years direct imprisonment for numerous offenses such as rape, sexual grooming, and possession of child pornography.
Botha played a crucial part in obtaining the victims’ statements and compiling their competency assessment reports, pivotal in securing the sentence.
She was also instrumental in compiling a victim impact report and testified as an expert witness in the sentencing of Nicholas Ninow, known as the ‘Silverton Dros rapist’.
The North Gauteng High Court sentenced Ninow to life imprisonment and an additional 10 years for various charges including rape and drug possession, stemming from an incident in September 2018 at a Pretoria restaurant.
In 2020, Botha received a Certificate of Commendation from the Minister of Police for her pivotal role in the sentencing of a paedophile to life imprisonment and an extra 100 years for multiple offenses involving child pornography and abuse.
Captain Botha annually assesses over 100 sexually abused child victims, earning the affectionate moniker ‘tannie Karin’ from these children. Her dedication stems from the profound impact she makes in their lives.
In her words, “Parents, caregivers, teachers or any other adult should never doubt or dismiss a child when they are disclosing the possibility of sexual abuse. Contact your nearest police station, open a case and act in the best interest of our children.”
Captain Botha epitomizes the concept that ‘real heroes do not wear capes’, being an unwavering advocate for voiceless child victims.