With more than 100 cases of child abuse reported every week and nearly 50 000 cases of crime against children reported yearly (according to the National Child Abuse Resource), women and children continue to be victims of the most horrifying crimes in South Africa.
With a rapid increase in violence and abuse towards children in Delft, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini opted to launch Child Protection Week which runs from 1 – 7 June, in the Cape Town township.
Earlier this year a nine-year-old girl survived after being raped, set alight and left to die in a field near the R30o. And only a week earlier, a six-year-old girl was raped in a communal toilet in the same community while the body of 11-year-old Siphokuhle Flephu was found on a bed in a home south of Delft. The minister’s visit proved to be beneficial in putting the spotlight on the township’s plight against violent crimes perpetrated against children.
However Tania Otto, a representative of Women and Men Against Child Abuse questions how effective such campaigns are and whether they have an impact in effective and tangible results in fighting child abuse. “The people who do not have the guts to go and report are not taken seriously. An improvement of the relevant stakeholders in terms of resources and human capital needs to happen to ensure that vulnerable people are protected.”
The problem society faces is not only the people committing crimes against children, but also the people who know of such cases and fail to report them .This campaign is a great PR exercise to shed light on an issue that should be declared a national crisis. But is this enough?