The damaging effects of violence against children extend into adulthood and beyond the victims - to the country's economy.
More political will is needed to fight violence against children, said Save the Children South Africa. During a briefing in Parliament on Tuesday, the development and rights-based organisation revealed that R238.58-billion of the South African economy in 2015 was lost to violence against children.
Of this figure, physical violence against children cost the country R129- billion in 2015 and sexual violence cost the economy R28.6-billion. However, the figure for sexual violence may not be accurate, said Save the Children CEO Gugu Ndebele, as often children are not able to report sexual violence, especially by people known to them.
Ndebele was reporting findings of the organisation's study that looked into the social and economic burden of violence against Children called Violence Unwrapped.
Ndebele told the basic education committee that "by the time we finish this meeting, a child will have been abducted or killed," and urged committee members to use their oversight role to ensure more is done to protect children.
"We need to do whatever it takes for the children," said Ndebele.