Kids’ numbers in KZN jails drop

2011-10-08 00:00

DRASTIC measures have reduced the number of children awaiting trial in KwaZulu-Natal jails from 500 to 55.

This follows a concerted effort by child rights organisations and the Department of Justice.

Pat Moodley, KZN regional representative for the Department of Justice, related the success story as an example of what can be achieved if civil society and the government work together.

She said the 55 children awaiting trial are in the special juvenile section at Westville Prison because of the nature of their offences and concerns for the safety of the other children if they were placed at other juvenile centres.

She said work is continuing to expedite their cases.

Moodley, who was speaking at a human rights and provincial participatory democracy forum in Durban on Thursday, said the Children’s Court Committee is tackling the large backlog of foster care cases.

“The judiciary have been very co-operative and have been prepared to sit longer hours and have re-allocated magistrates to sit in the children’s courts to help,” Moodley said.

She added that the issue of sexual abuse and violence against women and children needs to be tackled with urgency because numbers are reaching crisis proportions.

There has also been an increase in the number of cases of abuse against farm workers, Moodley ­added.

•nalini@witness.co.za

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