Gender violence in the Spotlight

World Vision SA wants violence against children be declared a national disaster

Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille wants to urgently meet with NGOs to discuss the very worrying spate of child murders in the province.

Paula Bernard, national director of World Vision SA she says policy regulations and the lack of intersectoral collaboration has led to very low cross referrals between social services and police. And matters have deteriorated to such a level that World Vision has even called for violence against children in this country to be declared a national disaster.

She says forty seven children were murdered in the Western Cape alone in the beginning of the year. Bernard goes on to say that man made disasters such as child abuse, society strangely, seems very apathetic towards.

Bernard stresses that a lot of awareness is needed to curb violence.

Stats from the University of Cape Town's Children's Institute shows that 37% of all children under the age of 18 are sexually and physically abused in South Africa. That means one in three children.

Paula Bernard, national director of World Vision SA

Quite simply, as an adult, there's a child in your domain that is being hurt in some shape or form.

Paula Bernard, national director of World Vision SA

Bernard says it is time adults stop turning a blind to the violence children are faced with. She adds that there is a huge need for local, provincial and national government to review the social justice system.

Bernard goes on to say that only eight percent of all cases are cross referred between social development and the police. All of our leadership is dropping the ball says Bernard.

She adds that children's issues are hugely under budget at a provincial and national level.

There has to be strict and punishable laws but there also has to be people willing to enforce that. Children are the most vulnerable in our society.

Paula Bernard, national director of World Vision SA

Bernard adds that there is a lot of manipulation of the system by adults and says children need to be listened to.

Listen to the full interview in the audio below:

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