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South Africa, 22 May 2017: UNICEF condemns brutal murders of girls and women, calls for violence-free communities

PRETORIA, South Africa, 22 May 2017 – Alarmed by recent reports of women and girls – some as young as two years-old – being brutally raped, mutilated and killed, UNICEF is calling on government, civil society and community members to accelerate ongoing actions and increase investment in prevention and early intervention programmes to promote violence-free communities.

“These horrific crimes are yet another sign that violence is a daily reality for too many women and children living in South Africa,” said UNICEF South Africa Representative, Mr. Herve Ludovic de Lys. “UNICEF is deeply saddened and expresses its heartfelt condolences to the families of these young girls and women.”

Recently published data show that one in three children in South Africa experience violence and one in five children of school going age experience sexual violence.

UNICEF supports the efforts of the Government of South Africa in implementing the framework of the Children’s Act of 2005. The actions cover advocacy or community-based responses which include, but are not limited to, the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Violence against Women and Children, the National Plan of Action for Children 2012-2017, the National Child Protection Week, and the Thutuzela Care Centers or the Isibindi approach.

Isibindi is a community-based programme that strengthens families and helps to protect children from abuse, neglect and violence. Endorsed by the South African Government, Isibindi focuses on the psychosocial wellbeing of children and adolescents by supporting positive caregiving and dialogue in the most disadvantaged families and communities, and assisting families to access key services. Combined with Safe Parks, which are spaces for recreation and learning created especially for at-risk children, Isibindi is driving positive change, and offers hope and opportunity for children at risk across the country. There are currently over 400 Safe Parks across all nine provinces which have supported more than 400,000 children to date.

In her mission to South Africa earlier this month, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, acclaimed Hollywood actress, Ms. Priyanka Chopra, visited an ‘Isibindi’ Safe Park and used her international reputation to call for increased awareness and support for child victims of sexual violence.

UNICEF joins the government and the many child rights organization of South Africa in their call for immediate action to prevent violence from happening. “Care and protection of children starts with all of us, in our homes and communities. Let’s keep our homes and schools safe for children,” added Ludovic de Lys.


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

Follow UNICEF South Africa on Twitter and Facebook

For more information, please contact:
Sandra Bisin, Chief of Communications, UNICEF South Africa, +27 61 418 7486,
Rayana Rassool, Communication Specialist, UNICEF South Africa, +27 82 561 1168,



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