Gender violence in the Spotlight

Discussion: How can we improve the safety of South African children?

Families and communities play an important role in protecting children from violence and abuse.

CapeTalk presenter Pippa Hudson hosted a panel discussion on the scourge of child abuse during National Child Protection Week.

Read: Families of slain WC children to voice their concerns to Parliament

In the Western Cape alone, 19 children that police know of have been reported killed since January.

Violence against children a 'national crisis'

Lucy Jamieson, researcher at the UCT Children's Institute, says violence against children is a national crisis which appears to be reported more.

It's a national crisis, every single school, family, community is touched by this.

Lucy Jamieson, researcher at the UCT Children's Institute

Most of those go unreported... There is a Courtney Peters, Anene Booysen case every three days nationally.

Lucy Jamieson, researcher at the UCT Children's Institute

According to Jamieson, at least 1 in 3 children experience some form of sexual abuse, while another third experiences some form of physical abuse.

Safety and support starts in the home

Judy Strickland, the Director Hope House Counselling Centre, says developing a strong family support system is the starting point to tackle child abuse.

Strickland says children need to be taught about self-awareness and educated about inappropriate behaviour.

Raise awareness to help end desensitisation

Zeenat Osman, child councellor at Saartjie Baartman Centre, says childhood exposure to violence can increase acceptance, expanding the likelihood that those children may one day become perpetrators themselves.

Osman says education and awareness is key to help families raise children in a way that empowers them.

Also read: Saartjie Baartman Centre kick-starts campaign to help protect women and children

Osman says organisations face a funding crisis and require the political will from government to do more to protect children better.

The three activists unpacked the underlying causes of violence against children and what steps can be taken.

Take a listen to the engaging discussion and callers who shared their stories:

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