Child-on-child violence has Cape rights groups worried
Cape Town - An increase in child-on-child violence has child rights organisations worried, and they have blamed children experiencing and witnessing violence in their homes and neighbourhoods on a regular basis for the increase.
Molo Songololo director Paric Solomons said children act out, settle scores and bully other children while also committing serious and fatal assault, stabbings and shootings to emulate everyday activities.
“Many South African children live in very violent communities where they are exposed to or are threatened by violence every day and eventually themselves become violent. Although gangs and gang violence is a factor, it is not the only contributor.
“Interpersonal violence, social violence, structural violence, political violence and institutional violence all contribute to the cycle of violence. We must examine all these to understand why South Africa has such a high crime and violence rate and why our children are so violent. Our homes, schools and public institutions do not promote and encourage non-violence,” said Solomons.
Recent incidents involve an 8-year-old boy who was wounded in a shooting incident in Manenberg on Saturday. A 4-year-old girl lost her left eye and a 15-year-old girl was shot in the foot in a gang shootout in Hanover Park.
A 14-year-old boy was shot and killed while another 14-year-old was injured in crossfire shootings in Hanover Park last month.
Solomon said local community, parents and child support programmes and interventions were crucial. He said stopping and preventing violent groups and gangs was critical, promoting non-violent principles, values and programmes in government and civil society.
The Great People of South Africa Chairwoman Zintle Khobeni urged parents to avoid situations where children have to witness violence.
She called on community leaders to also play their part in helping community members to access police services and listen to the voices in the communities when they report violence.
Ilitha Labantu spokesperson Siyabulela Monakali said child violence often went unreported and did not receive the amount of attention it deserved.
“The Western Cape leads the field when it comes to crimes committed by children and child murders. This is indicative of the prevalence of violence that exists in the home and in their communities.
“Children in the Western Cape and particularly in the Cape Flats are exposed to violence at extreme rates and this issue needs to be addressed because if left unattended we will see a further increase in violence,” he said.