Johannesburg – The Gauteng government announced on Friday violence against children cost the economy over R238 billion in 2015.
“We must work together because the challenge we are facing is enormous. The figures are shocking. On this day we are saying NO to abuse and violence against children. Not under our watch,” Gauteng Premier David Makhura said.
According to a Report compiled by the Save the Children organisation, titled Violence Unwrapped, The Social and Economic Burden of Violence against Children in South Africa, one in every three young people would have experienced sexual abuse in their lifetime.
The Gauteng government said they were committed to dealing with violence against children. Makhura and Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane reaffirmed that commitment at Constitutional Hill.
A 2015 study conducted by the Optimus Foundation and the University of Cape Town showed that 23.1 percent of young people reported exposure to family violence, 44.5 percent had experienced theft and 26.2 percent had been robbed.
The Premier and the MEC unveiled a sculpture, containing messages on violence against children that had been placed at Constitutional Hill for the duration of the 16 Days campaign earlier on Friday.
Save the children has also called on policy makers to invest in prevention of violence against children.
The Gauteng Government said they were currently responding to issues of social transformation and Save the Children will continue to work with government to ensure that South Africa and Gauteng becomes a safer place for children.
Makhura acknowledged the ground-breaking study undertaken by the organisation.
“It will go a long way in helping us to understand the conditions and challenges facing our children so that we can design appropriate interventions,” Makhura said.
Government said they were also intervening to build a safer Gauteng for children by implementing the Gauteng Safety Strategy which had a specific focus on social crime prevention.
The plight of children whose mothers were victims of gender-based were also a priority for government and eligible children who are in shelters must receive serious support to complete schooling and further their studies beyond grade 12.
African News Agency