Thousands of children abused last year

Between April 1 and December 31, 2021, more than 4,800 children were victims of abuse or violence in the Western Cape.

The figure was revealed by the province’s Department of Social Development (DSD), with the latest statistics paint a morbid and disturbing picture.

DSD Minister Sharna Fernandez gave the exact figure at 4,813, with the highest number of incidents of abuse occurring between April and June.

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At least 1,762 children were victims of willful neglect and 1,707 of sexual abuse. A total of 811 reported cases of physical abuse were received, 485 of emotional abuse and at least 26 were dropped.

The cases of teenage pregnancy known to the province currently stand at 19.

“Our children rely on us to ensure their well-being and protection. And during this time, it is imperative that we do everything we can to keep them safe and prevent abuse and neglect.

“As a major provider of child protection services, we have a duty to protect and promote the well-being of children and young people. We share this responsibility with parents, staff, volunteers and other organizations,” Fernandez said.

If abuse is suspected, it can be reported through the following channels:

  • By calling the DSD green number on 0800 220 250;
  • Call the Saps Crime Stopping Hotline on 10111;
  • Contact Childline on 0861 322 322 or
  • Call Child Welfare SA on 0861 424 453.

NOW READ: Violence against children, a critical challenge

Compiled by Nica Richards.

Joel C. Hicks