Study highlights SA’s ‘fractured’ child protection system

2016-06-02 16:41


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town – South Africa’s first nationally representative study on child maltreatment has put the spotlight on the current system aimed at protecting children.

After surveying workers in both state and non-state organisations, it was found that most child protection agencies worked in silos.

“It is a fractured system which delays justice and it is often too hard [for victims] to get the help that they really need,” Professor Catherine Ward, one of the authors of the Optimus study, shared in a briefing on Thursday.

The “Optimus Study: Sexual Victimisation of Children in South Africa” was commissioned by the UBS Optimus Foundation and conducted by researchers from the University of Cape Town and the Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention.

A technical report on the study stated the data implied that young people tended not to report child abuse or maltreatment.

When they did, the “trajectory of criminal justice, psychosocial support and child protection services” was not as effective as intended by local laws, policies and regulations.

The study found that one in every three young South Africans had experienced some form of sexual abuse in their lives.

At the briefing in Cape Town, many workers in the sector shared that the findings were “proof” of the reality of their cases.

One of the concerns raised was how it was possible for traumatised and overloaded social workers to heal broken children.

Lack of funding was another concern. 

While social development MEC Albert Fritz spoke, some people rubbed their fingers together to indicate the need for money.

“We can prevent this abuse before it occurs and we hope this is one of the messages you will take home from this study,” emphasised Ward, an associate professor in the University of Cape Town’s psychology department.

She said good parent-teen relationships played a role in preventing child sexual abuse.

Parenting programmes should be more widely available.

Housing that provided for separate bedrooms for girls should be an important consideration for parents and state bodies providing housing. 

“We also need to work with schools to prevent and deal with violence and abuse.”

Read more on:    uct  |  albert fritz  |  cape town  |  child abuse

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.