SA child mur­der stats shock

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - PAIGE SUTHER­LAND

COUNT­LESS in­ci­dents of child mur­der and fatal abuse cases have be­come the Western Cape’s harsh re­al­ity, to the ex­tent that Cape Town mayor Pa­tri­cia de Lille says “we should hang our heads in shame for what is hap­pen­ing to our chil­dren”.

Most re­cently, the two who have made head­lines are fiveyear-old Kau­ther Bobbs and her neigh­bour four- year- old Shaskia Michaels, who have both dis­ap­peared, one year apart, with­out trace. But they are just two of a long list of cases.

In 2009 alone, a to­tal of 1 018 child homi­cides were recorded across the coun­try – 454 were fatal child abuse cases, ac­cord­ing to a na­tional homi­cide study by the SA Med­i­cal Re­search Coun­cil.

At Childline’s 24-hour hot­line ser­vice, re­ports of child neg­li­gence are re­ceived daily, ac­cord­ing to Ch­eryl Mo­rilly, Childline man­ager at the Wyn­berg of­fice.

“While Na­tional Chil­dren’s Day is a good op­por­tu­nity to raise aware­ness of chil­dren’s rights, it must be em­pha­sised that chil­dren’s is­sues oc­cur 365 days a year,” she said.

Not only par­ents, but also en­tire com­mu­ni­ties, needed to en­cour­age the value of chil­dren in or­der to build their self­es­teem. Be­cause, Mo­rilly warned, even if many of th­ese chil­dren know their rights, they do not have the con­fi­dence to speak out when their rights are be­ing abused.

Nancy Chimhan­damba, com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager at Afrika Tikkun, a non- profit or­gan­i­sa­tion that fo­cuses on in­vest­ing in chil­dren and their fam­i­lies, said the re­cent crimes were in­con­ceiv­able.

Two weeks ago two girls, aged two and three, were found raped and killed in a toi­let in Diep­sloot.

The girls had been about to start pro­grammes at their lo­cal Afrika Tikkun cen­tre, where they would have learnt about their rights and how to se­cure them.

Afrika Tikkun, whose chief pa­tron is Nel­son Man­dela, of­fers fam­ily sup­port pro­grammes, youth de­vel­op­ment train­ing and more.

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