South Africa is Failing its Children


In 2009 more than 1 018 children were murdered in South Africa according to a report by the Medical Research Council (MRC) on child murders. This figure could be even higher though.

Dr Shanaaz Mathews, a researcher at MRC, said that as a nation, South Africa is possibly failing its children. He said that while children had all the constitutional protection possible, the report indicates that the policies and practices in relation to the protection of children were simply having little effect.

Of all the murder cases recorded in the study, 44% were the result of child abuse and neglect. Within this 44%, more than a third were because of abandonment within the first week after birth and almost 75% occurred among children younger than the age of four.

Mathews also said that the study showed not only a distinct age pattern amongst child murders, but a gender pattern as well. In all the older age groups, most of the victims were female but when it came to child abuse and violence cases, it was mostly teenage boys affected.

Most cases also showed that children were most often killed by a known person who was not related, followed by female parents as nearly half of all girl homicides were committed by mothers.

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