South African Constitution > Summary of the South African Bill of Rights > Section 12: Freedom and Security of the Person
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Section 12: Freedom and Security of the Person

This includes the following rights:

  • Not to be put in prison without good reason
  • Not to be detained without trial
  • To be free from all kinds of violence in both public and private
  • Not to be treated or punished in a cruel, inhuman or degrading way; torture is not allowed.
  • To make decisions about reproduction (having children)
  • To have control over our own bodies
  • Not to be forced to have medical or scientific experiments done on people
Violence and Abuse in the Home

Everyone has the right to be free from all forms of violence in the home. This right ensures that the government and the police must take measures to prevent domestic violence, for example, abuse of women and children in the home.

Corporal Pnunishment

The Constitutional Court has said that punishing people and children by whipping them or giving them a caning goes against this right. The Abolition of Corporal Punishment Act (1998) says beating a child as a form of punishment is illegal because it goes against a child’s right to dignity and his/her right not to be treated in a degrading way.