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Director of Centre for Child Law appointed as International Ambassador of BSC
23 July 2018

Prof Ann Skelton, Director of the Centre for Child Law, has been appointed as an International Ambassador of The British Society of Criminology (BSC). The BSC’s role is to maintain close links with the international criminological community and to spread the work of the society and its members globally.

International ambassadors assist in fostering relationships with other organisations and can be a first port of call for those studying or conducting research in their locale. The society has been in existence for over 50 years and has a wide-ranging global membership.

Commenting on her appointment, Prof Skelton said, “I am delighted to have been invited to be an International Ambassador for the BSC and welcome the opportunity to share experiences. My doctorate focused on Restorative Justice in relation to child offenders. Although my work encompasses a wide range of child rights issues, several of my areas of interest fall within the field of criminology. The first of these is the promotion of child justice reform, particularly in other developing countries – I led the committee that drafted the South African Child Justice Act (2008), which has become a popular model of reform in other African countries and the Caribbean."

Prof Skelton was a recipient of a Juvenile Justice Without Borders prize in 2016, awarded by the International Juvenile Justice Observancy for her 20 years of work in reducing the number of children in prison in South Africa.

In recent years, she has been working on the harsh effect of new sexual offence laws on adolescents, which leads to consensual teen sex being criminalised, ages of consent being raised, the inclusion of young sex offenders on sex offenders’ registers and children being charged with possession of pornography for taking naked pictures of themselves on their cell phones.

The Centre for Child Law is a law clinic that takes strategic cases to court to challenge such laws, as well as challenging harsh sentencing of child offenders and the effects of imprisonment of primary caregivers on their children.

“I feel very enthusiastic about the use of strategic litigation. I have argued several such cases in the South African Constitutional Court and I would like to see more litigation of this nature happening on the African continent and elsewhere,” said Prof Skelton.

UP’s Faculty of Law congratulated Prof Skelton on her appointment.

- Author Elzet Hurter
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Prof Ann Skelton