20 September 2017

South Africa: Child Murders - South Africa's Preventable Tragedy

analysis

In the Western Cape, child murders have dominated the news over the past few months. These brutal killings of defenceless children have understandably caused much outrage and civil society organisations have called for decisive action by the Western Cape Government, in particular for a commission of inquiry to stem the tide of these killings. However, is a commission of inquiry an appropriate response when we know enough about this problem to take action now? By SHANAAZ MATHEWS and LORNA MARTIN.

Evidence research on child murders has grown considerably over the past few years. The first national study into child murders in South Africa shows that the killing of a child is not an isolated event. This study found that every three days a child is killed due to abuse and neglect. We also know that the child murder rate for South Africa is more than double the global average.

As a direct result of the gaps identified by the national homicide study, the Children's Institute, University of Cape Town, in partnership with the Division of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology, UCT, and the Department of Forensic Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, established a Child Death Review (CDR) project at two sites -...

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