Shock child-rape stats revealed

2006-05-17 22:39

Pretoria - Forty percent of all rape cases reported in the past financial year were child rapes.

Police statistics show that more than 22 000 children were raped in the 2004-'05 financial year, more than 1 000 murdered and more than 30 000 assaulted.

Human Rights Commission chairperson Jody Kollapen said on Wednesday: "If I were a child in South Africa nowadays, I wouldn't feel very comfortable. I'd definitely feel threatened."

He was speaking in Pretoria at the annual conference of the South African Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (Sapsac).

He said society itself must do more to help protect children's rights, and not simply rely on the justice system.

He said that although prosecutors mostly did their best to protect children's rights, this was not solely their responsibility.

Difference between theory and practice

"I think we're facing a crisis. The government may make mistakes, and perhaps make stupid mistakes, but society also must do more," said Kollapen.

He added that there was a difference between children's rights, protected in theory by the constitution, and what happened in practice.

"If you look at these statistics (on child abuse), you're not sure if you want to live in a democratic country," he said.