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'Heavy drinking and drug abuse are biggest causes of child abuse'

Expert Joan van Niekerk says children often find themselves in the middle of their parent’s disputes.

A demonstrator at the official Launch of the 16 Days of Activism for no Vilolence Against Women and Children Campaign. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG – The International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect has expressed shock and dismay after a four-year-old girl was strangled to death, allegedly by her father.

Thabiso Mokoena faces a charge of murder after the four-year-old’s body was found in his house in Katlehong on Monday.

The organisation says heavy drinking and drug abuse are the biggest cause of child abuse during the festive season.

The organisation’s Joan van Niekerk says children often find themselves in the middle of their parent’s disputes.

“Some of the killings we’ve seen are the revenge killings, in other words, if one parent is angry, they tend to punish their partner by harming the children.”

Van Niekers has urged parents to priorotised their children’s safety especially during this time of the year.

“It’s so important to appeal to parents to make sure there’s someone in the household who’s not drinking.”

Mokoena is expected to appear in the Palm Ridge Magistrates Court for bail application next week.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)