A third of girls in South Africa experience some form of violence, often from someone they know.
Violence against children remains a critical challenge facing South African society today, despite tremendous efforts to curb this scourge. The legacy of violence and extreme inequality from South Africa’s past is compounded by high poverty and unemployment in the present. This combination places many children at risk of domestic violence, substance abuse, sexual abuse and neglect. The scale of violence in South Africa alone is deeply worrying. Perhaps more concerning is how violence has become normalised in everyday life; weaving abuse and neglect into the country’s societal fabric.
Violence disproportionately affects the most vulnerable and has taken new forms:
- With South Africa’s huge HIV burden, millions of children are without parents and are placed at further risk in child-headed households.
- South Africa is a major destination for refugees fleeing crises, but their children face discrimination and are often denied access to school and healthcare services.
- Gender-based violence is an emergency in South Africa. While young boys are victims of all forms of violence, there are shocking levels of violence, especially sexual violence including rape, perpetrated against girls and young women.
- As children and young people lead the digital uptake in South Africa, they are not only being exposed to violent material online but also becoming victims of cyberbullying.