Violence against children cost South Africa R238.58 billion in 2015, revealed Save the Children South Africa at a press conference, held at Constitutional Hill on Wednesday, 23 November 2016.
A recent study commissioned by the children’s rights organisation found that the long-term effects of emotional, physical and sexual abuse has direct impact on the country’s economy.
“It was important for us to quantify the cost of violence against children on our GDP to highlight the urgency with which we need to act,” said Save the Children Chief Executive Officer, Gugu Ndebele.
“Violence against children takes all forms and in varying degrees impacts on our economy. Infringing on the rights of children is just too costly for us to ignore anymore,” said Ndebele.
“The research report, which collected data from national directories, surveys and reports, was led by the University of Cape Town in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh and Georgia State University.”
Prof Cathy Ward, Head of the Department of Psychology at the University of Cape Town said: “These findings highlight how preventing violence against children is a matter of urgency and is also an effective investment that will yield many social and economic returns for South Africa.”
The researchers admit that this is a conservative study that focused on available data and did not account for those cases of abuse that were not reported or documented.
Save the Children South Africa, revealed the results at the launch of their five-year priority campaign that aims to end violence against children.
“We were adamant that these findings should be a catalyst for change. This study provided the research we needed to develop high-impact programmes that will drastically reduce violence against children,” added Ndebele.
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