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EDITORIAL | Our kids deserve better, and we can all help

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EDITORIAL | Our kids deserve better, and we can all help

SA children should be living carefree existences, untroubled by poverty, domestic violence and crime

Editorial

Anxiety, bullying, poverty, abuse. The most vulnerable in our society are dealing with the worst problems in the world. While our children should be growing up with many carefree days, in reality they are faced with challenges most adults would struggle with. As SA “celebrated” Youth Day this week, the release of the latest Child Gauge report painted a sobering picture. 

Many of our children have tough lives. According to the report produced by the Children’s Institute at the University of Cape Town, children in SA are under far more strain than their counterparts in other parts of the world. They often live in fear. The release of crime statistics in Gauteng confirms this: 45 children were murdered in the province in the first three months of this year. Alongside these staggering stats were the high incidents of domestic violence. Gauteng police commissioner Lt-Gen Elias Mawela spoke of our “social ills” being one of the main root causes for assault. “Should the community adopt better, acceptable means of conflict management and reduce substance abuse, surely some categories of crime, such as domestic violence, gender-based violence, murder and attempted murder, will be reduced.”

Mawela’s observation is spot on but how does that help our children, trapped in violent homes where poverty and joblessness have left their parents in desperate situations? The numbers in the report tell a sad tale: 36% of children live in homes where nobody is earning an income and 8-million children live below the food poverty line. The Child Gauge states: “Most children and young people in SA experience ongoing violence and multiple adversities. There is no easy solution or quick fix in terms of violence prevention and treatment of the effects of violence on child and adolescent mental health.” ..

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