A devastating 635 cases of violence against children have been logged at the Red Cross Children’s War Memorial Hospital between January and October 2019. Of these, 19 cases of neglect, 175 of physical abuse and 92 cases of sexual abuse have been reported.

“The hospital is appealing to members of the public to reach out to children and to prioritise the safety of children under their care ahead of the upcoming festive season,” said Dwayne Evans, Principal Communication Officer of the hospital to IOL.

Its statistics have also shown that there is a definite correlation between the number of patients admitted to the hospital and the relationship with domestic violence, alcohol and drug abuse by negligent carers.

This correlation has also left many authorities concerned for the health of children over the festive period, including children’s rights activists, the police and the City of Cape Town.

“This is because most working parents have the school as their primary care-giver of the children when school is open. Now for the next six weeks, the school is not there and the parents have to make alternative arrangements,” said children’s rights activist Lucinda Evans. “When these children are left to their own devices is when we have these rapes, abductions and killings.”

“We have an extensive holiday programme that targets both primary and high school learners. That programme started on the day that the schools officially closed. We partner with the religious sector to assist with the programme,” Community Safety MEC, Albert Fritz said.

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