Department of Justice holds imbizo to raise awareness about violence against children

The Department of Justice held an Imbizo in Khayelitsha‚ Cape Town‚ on Thursday aimed at raising awareness around the worrying trend of violence against women and children in the Western Cape.

According to a recent parliamentary inter-ministerial committee report‚ one in three children in the Western Cape will be exposed to assault or physical abuse before they reach adulthood.

It also found that children under the age of five were most likely to be abused and killed at home‚ while teenage boys were increasingly at risk of being killed in the context of male-on-male interpersonal violence.

Since January more than 20 girls have been murdered in the Western Cape.

Various government departments and NGO’s came out to engage community members and educate and inform them of the options they had to access justice within their communities.

Advocate Shirin Ebrahim from the DoJ‚ said that communities needed to become empowered in order to assist the department and the Justice‚ Crime Prevention and Security Cluster (JCPS) to bring perpetrators to book.

“Violence against children in our country has reached crisis proportions especially in the Western Cape‚ and the JCPS and justice department see it fit to raise awareness around the issue of violence against children by having programmes such as this‚ to raise awareness and to indicate to the community that we are aware of the problem and are trying to deal with it‚” Ebrahim said.

“But we also need to look at the violence as a symptom of a deeper problem in the country‚ which relates to broken homes‚ alcohol and drug abuse.”

“But we also need to look at the violence as a symptom of a deeper problem in the country‚ which relates to broken homes‚ alcohol and drug abuse.”

One in three children are victims of sexual violence and physical abuse before they are 18‚ while 12% of children report neglect and 16% report emotional abuse‚ the IMC report showed.

National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson in the Western Cape Eric Ntabazalila‚ said community involvement was vital in ensuring successful prosecutions.

“The reality of this matter is that we will never win this [fight] if it is only left to government‚” he said.

“We need to work with communities because there is no way we can have a police officer in each household. That partnership will help us win this fight.”

By Farren Collins, Tiso Black Star Group

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