Province committed to fighting child abuse

Save the Children CEO, Gugu Ndebele; Premier David Makhura; MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane and Gauteng Police Commissioner, Deliwe de Lange discussing the report produced by Save the Children.

The Gauteng government is committed to dealing with violence against children. The Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, and the Community Safety MEC, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane, reaffirmed that commitment earlier this month.

The development and rights-based organisation, Save the Children, recently presented the Premier and the MEC with hard-hitting statistics about the levels of violence experienced by children in the country.

According to the report compiled by the organisation, which is titled Violence Unwrapped, The Social and Economic Burden of Violence against Children in South Africa, one in every three young people would have experienced sexual abuse in their lifetime.

A 2015 study conducted by the Optimus Foundation and the University of Cape Town also showed that 23,1 per cent of young people reported exposure to family violence, 44,5 per cent had experienced theft, 26,2 per cent had been robbed and 19,7 per cent reported persistent bullying. In addition, violence against children cost the economy over R238 billion in 2015.

Save the Children has also called on policy-makers to invest in the prevention of violence against children.

The Gauteng government is currently responding to issues of social transformation and Save the Children will continue to work with them and the national government to ensure that the whole of South Africa becomes a safer place for children.

The Premier acknowledged the ground-breaking study undertaken by the organisation.

“It will go a long way in helping us to understand the conditions and challenges facing our children so that we can design appropriate interventions,” Makhura said.

The Gauteng government invests the largest chunk of its budget in education to empower children.

Government is also intervening to build a safer Gauteng for children by implementing the Gauteng Safety Strategy which has a specific focus on social crime prevention. The plight of children whose mothers are victims of gender-based violence is also a priority for government, and eligible children who are in shelters must receive serious support to complete schooling and further their studies beyond Grade 12.

The Premier also acknowledged that partnerships and co-operation with various organisations were needed to make a significant difference.

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Sonwabile Antonie

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