Serious crimes perpetrated by children on the rise

Advocate Bonnie Currie-Gamwo says that one of the challenges they're faced with is the rapid increase in the number of children who're being arrested for violent offences.

Picture: SAPS

CAPE TOWN - The deputy Director of Public Prosecutions says that there has been a vast increase in serious crimes perpetrated by children over the years.

Advocate Bonnie Currie-Gamwo was one of the keynote speakers at Friday's provincial Child Justice Probation Services workshop that is being hosted by the Western Cape Social Development Department.

The event is being held to discuss how the various roleplayers can collectively improve efforts to deliver on the Child Justice Act of 2008.

Currie-Gamwo says that one of the challenges they're faced with is the rapid increase in the number of children who're being arrested for violent offences, especially related to gangsterism in the Western Cape.

"With the children, often they are the hitmen because there is a perception that they will not receive a hefty sentence. This is actually not correct because you can sentence them for up to 25 years but you cannot imprison them for life."

The Western Cape Social Development Department says that it has five centres across the province which houses child offenders.

More than 50% of these minors are there for crimes including murder, rape, attempted murder, assault with grievous bodily harm, and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Currie-Gamwo says that the current Child Justice Act of 2008 deals with every aspect of the criminal system designed for minors.