Research & Innovation 2015-16 - Page 67



Feature
10 years on, SA children continue to
experience high levels of violence
A look back at the past ten annual issues of the South African Child Gauge has
revealed both the progress made for South African children, and the obstacles
they still face.
In November 2016, UCT’s Children’s Institute will release
the 11th issue of the South African Child Gauge: the
only publication to provide an annual snapshot on the
situation of South Africa’s children.
The Children’s Institute has outlined massive challenges
facing children today. For example, levels of violence
against children are excessive: South Africa’s child
homicide rate is more than double the global average,
and most forms of violence are perpetrated by someone
known to the child. At the same time, the institute says
it is clear that an array of progressive laws and policies
have translated into significant gains for children:
Gains for children in South Africa today
• Child poverty dropped from 74% in 2003 to 54% in
2013, driven primarily by the expansion of the Child
Support Grant, which now reaches just under 12
million children.
• Children’s access to formal housing has increased to
75%, with access to basic sanitation at 72%.
• Deaths of children under five years old have fallen,
following the roll-out of the Prevention of Mother to
Child Transmission programme.
• Access to early childhood development programmes
increased from 55% in 2002 to 91% in 2013, and
access to basic education is nearly universal, at 98%.
Challenges facing children today
• Poor-quality schooling acts as a poverty trap, starting
in the foundation phase and culminating in high levels
of high-school drop-out. 
• Just over one million learners started grade 1 in
2003, yet only 49% made it to matric in 2014; and
only 8% qualified for a university exemption
• According to the Children’s Institute’s Children
Count project, children remain disproportionately
affected by child poverty. Over half of children live
in households with a per capita monthly income
of less than R671.
• One in five children live in overcrowded
households, one in three are without water on site,
and one in four are without basic sanitation. 
• Nearly half of child homicides take place in the
context of child abuse and neglect; and of these,
75% of victims are children under the age of five
– where most violence is inflicted at home by a
person known to the child.
“Although the South African constitution provides
children with the right to be free from maltreatment,
abuse and neglect, children continue to experience
high levels of violence across multiple settings,” said
Shanaaz Matthews, director of the Children’s
Institute.
“Experiences of violence have long-lasting negative
effects on the health, social and psychological
well-being of a child. It is therefore imperative that
we find innovative ways to protect children from
violence, and to build children’s resilience so they
are able to recover from negative experiences. In
addition, it is vital that projects such as the Child
Gauge continue to monitor the status of children,
identifying critical gaps and opportunities to
strengthen policy and programmes.”
 
UCT Children’s Institute media release. Image by
DLR German Aerospace Center, Flickr.
Good health and well-being 62

Flickr





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