One child is raped in South Africa every three minutes, a report by trade union Solidarity said on Wednesday.
A report compiled by Solidarity Helping Hand said that while there are about 60 cases of child rape in South Africa every day, more than 88% of child rapes are never reported.
”This means that about 530 child rapes take place every day — one rape every three minutes,” said spokesperson Mariana Kriel.
The report will be released by Solidarity Helping Hand on Thursday.
Kriel said the report contains statistics and facts about the levels of child murder, rape and abuse in South Africa.
”Several interviews with social workers and other employees of social welfare organisations across South Africa are included in the report, providing a unique look at the experiences of people who work with child abuse on a daily basis.”
Kriel said according to the report, the levels of child abuse in South Africa are increasing rapidly.
”In 2007/08 in South Africa, 1 410 cases of child murder were reported — 22,4% more than in the previous year. In addition, it was found that 45% of all rapes in the country are child rapes,” said Danie Langner, executive director of Solidarity Helping Hand.
”The shocking reality, however, is that these figures do not nearly reflect the true extent of the problem.”
Kriel said the report also highlights the severe shortage of trained social workers and the difficult working conditions they face.
”Certain organisations, such as Childcare South Africa, work with more than two million children and their families on a daily basis. This means that the average social worker handles nearly 200 cases each year, while the accepted norm is 60.”
Langner added: ”For the first time in the country’s history, social work is regarded as a scarce skill.
”There were 12 500 registered social workers in South Africa in 2007. Meanwhile, the difficult working conditions and poor remuneration packages discourage people from following the career.”
Langner said the report covers several issues, including the influence of gangs and drugs, as well as facts regarding child pornography and the trade in children.
”The simple fact that 80% of all children under the age of two that are helped at Childline Port Elizabeth have skull fractures, or the fact that young boys are flagrantly abused by middle-aged men at advertised places in the Western Cape or the fact that 43% of all cases in which Childline South Africa is involved are those of sexually abused children, must simply be exposed,” Langner said.
Helping Hand will also launch a CD Hande vir Hoop (Hands for Hope) at the launch of the report.
Police director Piet Byleveld, one of the country’s top detectives, will also receive an award for his contribution to child protection. — Sapa