The Child Witness Foundation

The Child Witness Foundation was established in 2015 to support the work of The Child Witness Institute.

Our fundraising goals
Get involved

We’re raising
funds to


Find out what’s missing

We'll identify gaps in the services that address crimes against children, so we know exactly what needs to change.


Find out what’s happening

We'll undertake research and develop a profile of sexual violence in South Africa to create a better understanding of the victims, the offenders and the circumstances.

This will help to prevent child abuse and enable more effective and sensitive responses when abuse does occur.


Educate and inform

Information on child abuse is scattered and fragmented, and either too basic or too academic.

We're developing an online information portal to share targeted knowledge with all stakeholders. This will enable better responses and a fairer adjudication of cases.


Develop toolkits

We’re creating toolkits to help children better understand the criminal-justice system and to have confidence in their role in the process.

This can reduce the number of cases that are withdrawn because a child was judged as not being competent to give evidence.


Run our pilot project

Starting in the Eastern Cape, our pilot project will run from 2016 to 2017. It will be rolled out nationally, then internationally.

The baseline research data gathered will give governments, agencies and other organisations a better understanding of sexual violence, its victims and its triggers – an important first step towards helping to prevent and respond to sexual violence.

Our pilot project will

  • Contribute to the prevention of child abuse.
  • Form a baseline against which government and other organisations can respond.
  • Reform the criminal-justice system to accommodate and be responsive to the needs of children.

Get involved

We’re raising R6,2m to launch our pilot project.

This project will deliver practical insights to stakeholders, and will make a real and positive change to the reality of abused and victimised children in the criminal-justice system.

More about this projectMore about the Child Witness Institute’s work

Our banking details

  • Account nameFoundation on Justice for Child Witnesses
  • BankFirst National Bank of South Africa
  • Account number62570288318
  • Branch210655

For international payments, please use the following SWIFT code: FIRNZAJJ950

Our funders, supporters
and partners

We’d like to thank all our partner organisations, funders and supporters for your efforts in helping us create a just, fair and responsible criminal-justice system, and for helping us fight child abuse.


Funders and sponsors


Dr Karen Müller

Chief Executive Officer

Karen Müller established The Institute for Child Witness Research and Training in 1998.

She specialises in developing legislation and protocols affecting child witnesses, locally and internationally. She has published extensively and is an expert witness in the field of child witnesses.

Karen runs a number of specialised training courses aimed at improving the knowledge and skills of all role-players working with child witnesses in the criminal-justice system. As a Professor of Law, she supervises Master’s and PhD research and is currently implementing postgraduate qualifications for professionals working in the field.

+27 (0)41 373 6968

Karen Hollely

Chief Operations Officer

Karen Hollely manages the implementation of all projects undertaken by the Institute, locally and abroad.

She specialises in psychological issues affecting child witnesses and child victims of sexual offences.

Karen has also published widely on topics pertaining to child witnesses and gender-based violence, and co-develops specialised qualifications which are relevant to child forensics, child witnesses and legal system reform.

+27 (0)41 373 6968

Michelle Viviers


Michelle Viviers coordinates all of the institute’s training courses and programmes, and provides administrative support for all projects.

+27 (0)41 373 6968

Dr Hetta van Niekerk


Hetta van Niekerk is a psychologist in private practice who consults for The Institute for Child Witness Research and Training.

She specialises in forensic assessments of individuals with developmental delays as well as child-centred investigations and therapy.  She is an expert witness in the field of testimonial competency of both child and intellectually impaired victims of sexual offences.

Hetta has presented at numerous opportunities, both locally and internationally and has lead training courses with various role-players working with child and special needs forensics.

+27 (0)44 874 7773

Annette van der Merwe


Annette van der Merwe is currently a Professor in the Department of Criminal Law and Procedure in the School of Law at the University of Limpopo, South Africa.

She initially followed a career in public prosecution, later served pupilage, wrote the Pretoria Bar examination, and then proceeded to enter into academia. She completed her doctoral thesis during 2005, titled “Aspects of the Sentencing Process in Child Sexual Abuse Cases” at Rhodes University.

Over the years she has been involved with practical legal training of prosecutors and magistrates/judges (national and international), with regard to issues pertaining to the prosecution and adjudication of matters involving child sexual abuse; undergraduate teaching within the criminal justice sphere; providing post graduate supervision on masters and doctoral level; as well as delivering papers at national and international conferences.

Her main areas of research interest, as evident from her publications in journals articles and book chapters, are (child)victims & witnesses in criminal procedure, the sentencing phase, restorative justice and therapeutic jurisprudence.

She has been cited twice by the Supreme Court of Appeal with reference to the recognition of victims during the sentencing phase, thereby contributing to law reform in this regard.

Iman Rappetti

Institute Ambassador

Prominent journalist Iman Rappetti is the host of POWER Talk, Monday to Friday from 09h00 to midday.

She brings to POWER House her diverse skills as an incisive interviewer and empathetic but firm listener as she excavates the heart of the issues affecting society.

Iman has been an ambassador for the Child Witness institute since August 2017.


Foundation on Justice for Child Witnesses
  • NPC number2015/059668/07
  • PBO number93051592
  • NPO number152-49
14 Neethlingshof Street,
Haasendal, Kuilsriver,
Cape Town,
South Africa 7580


  • Mr Francois Baird
  • Dr Karen Müller
  • Prof Kingston Nyamapfene
  • Mr Timothy Scholtz
  • Mr Gerhard van Graan
  • Ms Nokuzola Ehrens