Child abuse reports decrease in WC, but not for good reasons

Anti-child abuse NGO Matla A Bana Monique Strydom said they were expecting a spike in reports of abuse when children returned to school.

FILE: It's believed the decrease in complaints is linked to the restriction on movement during the lockdown. Picture: 123rf.

CAPE TOWN - Anti-child abuse NGO Matla A Bana said it had recorded a 40% decrease in the reporting of child abuse cases, especially that of sexual abuse, in the Western Cape.

The organisation on Thursday said this was a big concern as South Africa observes Child Protection Month in May.

It's believed the decrease in complaints is linked to the restriction on movement during the lockdown.

Matla A Bana's Monique Strydom said child abuse was still happening, but now it was taking place behind closed doors.

She said they were expecting a spike in reports of abuse when children returned to school.

“It’s important to remember that schools are a safe place for kids to disclose and when they are not available, they aren’t able to disclose.”

Strydom said in preparation for this expected increase, they were desperate for donations for food parcels or comfort packs, which include soap, a facecloth, a teddy bear, underwear and other necessities.

“We’re facing economic strain that other people are facing, there’s little donations coming in because of the uncertainty.”

The donations are given to the children when they report sexual crimes to the police.

(Edited by Refilwe Pitjeng)