South Africa: When the Innocents Die - Child Murders Under the Spotlight

analysis

'There were 10 in the bed and the little one said roll over...so we all rolled over, now there are nine in the bed.' Parliament is an unlikely place to hear nursery rhymes, but this old ditty was quoted in a submission to a committee meeting about the scourge of child murders in SA.

First published by Notes from the House

Edith Kriel, director of the non-governmental organisation (NGO) Jelly Beanz, also reminded the Western Cape Social Development Department committee of the fate of Humpty Dumpty, who fell off a wall. No one could put him back together again.

The point being made so powerfully and poignantly by Kriel was that by the time children are referred to her organisation, "it's already too late," she told the committee. "The damage has been done." Prevention programmes are offered to the children, "but children are powerless to make child abuse stop".

Jelly Beanz is an NGO to which children who have been abused are referred, and Kriel stressed the urgent need to address the underlying "pre-child murder" issues. The title of her presentation was: "Child murder does not happen in a vacuum".

The point made repeatedly throughout the committee meeting was that...

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