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SA could do much more to address child sexual abuse, study says

South Africa is one of 40 countries evaluated in the report titled the 'Out of the Shadows Index'.

Picture: iStock

CAPE TOWN – An international study has revealed that South Africa could do much more to address child sexual abuse and exploitation.

South Africa is one of 40 countries evaluated in the report titled the Out of the Shadows Index.

The research assesses how effectively countries are tackling the crisis.

The research was compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), a research programme supported by the World Childhood and Oak Foundations.

It assesses four key aspects, the environment, legal framework, government commitment and capacity, as well as engagement of industry, civil society and media.

The Economist Intelligence Unit director Conor Griffin says that South Africa scored 56.1 % for its efficacy in dealing with the matter.

“We've seen most of the progress from South Africa in the legal framework category there have been some impressive laws passed, some policies passed."

Statistics revealed in Parliament last year indicated at least 41% of all reported rape cases since May 2015 until May 2018 involved children.

But Griffin says that as shocking as the official statistics might be, more has to be done to dig deeper and reveal the true scope of the problem.

“Right now, the only data that is around though, in many countries, including South Africa, is the reported incidents, so when a child and somebody around the child has reported the incident...of course the problem there is that only reported cases to get attention."

Study authors say the countries under scrutiny account for 70% of children globally and were chosen as a sample that broadly represents all parts of the globe.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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