Only 19% of cases reported to social services were cross-referred to the police, and 8% referred back to social services by police.
THE incidence of violence against children in South Africa is higher than the global average.
A study conducted by NGO Save the Children revealed that one in five children in South Africa (19.8%) had experienced sexual abuse, compared with the global average of 18% for girls and 8% for boys; one in three (34.4%) had experienced physical abuse, notably higher than the global average of 23%; one in six (16.1%) reported experiencing emotional abuse, compared with the global average of 36%; one in eight (12.2%) reported being neglected, compared with the global average of 16%; and one in six (16.9%)reported witnessing violence.
The study found that in 2015, violence against children had cost the economy R238.58billion, or 5.93% of GDP.
A 2017 Child Abuse Tracking Study released by UCT revealed that only 19% of cases reported to social services were cross-referred to the police, and 8% referred back to social services by police.
Child Protection Week was launched in Langa last week after the horrific deaths of two Grade 11 pupils at a hostel at Hoërskool Stella in Vryburg on Saturday shocked the nation, and while cases involving violent crimes against three-year-old Courtney Pieters, five-year-old Minentle Lekhatha and four-year-old Iyapha Yamile were being heard in the Western Cape High Court.
At the launch, Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize called on communities to rally behind children and ensure their safety.
Two weeks ago, Xolani Lantu, 36, the jilted lover of Minentle’s grandmother, pleaded guilty to raping and murdering Minentle. He was charged with kidnapping and two counts of rape and murder.
Lantu confessed to the court that he had “undressed her under the bridge, told her to lay on her back and tried to penetrate her”. Pathologist Bronwyn Inglis said Minentle had sustained bruises and abrasions on the face, chest area and in her genitalia.
Lantu cited differences with Minentle’s grandmother as the reason why he attacked Minentle. Lantu and Minentle’s grandmother had ended their relationship before Lantu abducted Minentle, raping and murdering her, and then dumping her body.
While Mortimer Saunders, on trial for the abduction, rape and murder of Courtney Pieters, and Courtney Pieters’s mother barely saw eye to eye, the 41-year-old man was a boarder at her Salberau home in Elsies River. He confessed to the court that he wanted to get back at the little girl’s mother.
Save the Children communications manager Sibusiso Khasa said there could be no justification for violence against children.
“A breakdown in relations in a family setting, school or community does create a toxic environment for a child. While the breakdown in relations does put a child at risk, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will lead to physical or sexual abuse of the child. It’s direct impact is that it affects the child’s emotions negatively, which is another form of violence/abuse against children.”