Right to special protection
Violence against women and children in South Africa is extreme. Of the 54,225 crimes against children reported to the South African Police in 2010/2011, over 50 per cent were sexual offences. That same year, nearly a fifth of the 191,842 reported crimes against women were sexual offences.
Around one third of parents report using severe forms of punishment against their children. Despite a ban on corporal punishment in schools, 16.8 per cent of children have been physically chastised at school. Sexual harassment in schools, by other learners and teachers, is also common.
South Africa’s rate of violent death for men (113 per 100,000) is eight times the global average (8.2 per 100,000).
Laws such as the Domestic Violence Act, the Children’s Act and criminal law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters Act) have been passed to protect children, women and men from violence and to bring perpetrators to justice. However, implementation is a challenge and access to services for all survivors remains difficult. In addition, gender inequality, poverty, alcohol and drug abuse make it difficult to turn the situation around.