A child is raped every three minutes - study

The levels of child abuse in South Africa are increasing rapidly, a report by Solidarity Help Hand said on Thursday.

According to the study, a child is raped in South Africa every three minutes.

"This means that about 530 child rapes take place every day," said Mariana Kriel, Solidarity Help Hand project director.

She said a study by the South African Youth Victimisation Survey in 2005 found that only about 11.3 percent of child rapes were reported to the police.

"This means that for every reported case, an additional eight child rapes actually take place."

The report, released in Pretoria, indicated that 1 410 children were murdered in 2007/08. Attempted murder on children stood at 13.7 percent at the same period - an increase of 22 percent compared to the previous year.

Chief executive officer of the Solidarity Help Hand, Danie Langer, said in addition to the 1 410 cases of children murdered, it was found that 45 percent of all rapes in the country were child rapes.

"The shocking reality, however, is that these figures do not nearly reflect the true extent of the problem."

The report included interviews with other organisation working with children revealed that the number of social workers were decreasing, due to lack of support and salary.

According to the report there were 12 500 registered social workers in South Africa in 2007, difficult working conditions and poor remuneration packages has resulted in people not willing to follow social work as a career.

Other factors that contribute to child abuse were drugs and alcohol.

The report quoted a case study in the Western Cape, where it was found that 90 percent of child abused cases reported, drugs and alcohol played a role.

A five-year-old child was raped while her mother was drunk, and drug dealers stand at school gates give drug free of charge to pupils.

Young girls were lured into the drugs and later became prostitutes. - Sapa

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