16 Days of Activism campaign not effective, says child protection expert

Joan van Niekerk says that despite campaigns such as 16 Days of Activism Against Women and Child Abuse, there doesn't seem to be a reduction in these crimes.

FILE: Women activists hold up underwear at the gender-based violence summit during President Cyril Ramaphosa's speech. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

CAPE TOWN - A Cape Town-based child protection expert says she doesn't believe the annual 16 Days of Activism campaign is effective. It was launched on Sunday.

Police stats indicates the murder rate for women has increased by 16% in the past five years, and more than 18,000 child rape cases were recorded over the 2017/2018 financial year.

Joan van Niekerk works as a child protection consultant for numerous NGOs who assist victims of gender-based violence.

Van Niekerk says that despite campaigns such as 16 Days of Activism Against Women and Child Abuse, there doesn't seem to be a reduction in these crimes.

“Service providers, particularly in the NGO field but also in the government departments, are hard-pressed to respond to reports of violence because of staff shortages and not having sufficient services and facilities for children who do report.”

Van Niekerk says there's a need for long-term initiatives to address these issues to uncover the reasons for such high rates of violence in South Africa.

Police statistics indicate that the murder rate of women in South Africa has increased by 16% in the past five years and the number of reported child rapes in the same period has gone up by about 3,000 from 15,000 to just over 18,000.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)