child violence

Violence against children is costing South Africa billions – Report

This new report reveals that instances of child violence are costing the country a fortune. How does one solve the problem?

child violence

The South African Child Gauge 2017 has revealed that one in three children are victims of sexual violence and abuse before they reach 18 years old. The report also revealed that children failing to meet their potential due to poverty is costing the economy billions “in lost human capital”.

TimesLIVE reported on the survey that tracks the status annually of South African children.  The University of Cape Town Children Institute worked with other organisations including Unicef and the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation.

The report finds that 12% of children are living below the international ultra- poverty line which works out to less than R17.50 per day. By 2015, almost 90% of children had access to electricity while 80% had access to water.

One of the most shocking revelations? Almost a third of all children lived in homes where there is no working adult.

The report revealed that child survival rates have improved. The under-five mortality rate also dropped from 81 to 37 deaths per 1000 live births.

TimesLIVE spoke to UCT Children’s Institute Lucy Jamieson about the structural problems stopping children from reaching their full potential. Violence, poverty and inequality were all at the nucleus of the problem.

“These factors contribute to a vicious cycle‚ that not only prevents individual children from thriving‚ but is putting the brakes on broader transformation in South Africa‚” she said.

“Development is progressive‚ with each stage building on the one before so young children must be free from harm‚ and have experiences which the brain and other systems need to grow and develop‚ if they do not get that they will struggle at school‚ and a poor education will limit their prospects for employment and their productivity.”

While South African schools were seeing attendance rates of almost 100%, only 57% of yearly cohorts ended up passing matric. Only 21% of those even qualify to get into a university. Take the cost of Higher Education into account and sadly, things only get more grim.

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said government’s National Development Plan looks to deal with the issues children are facing.

“The plan acknowledges that without addressing poverty and inequality‚ the democratic project remains unfinished. It also recommends interventions to unlock the potential in our children and allow South Africa to reap this demographic dividend by 2030‚” said Radebe.