Child Homicides in South Africa Show Violence ‘Entrenched’


In South Africa, official figures reveal that nearly 1,000 children are murdered each year in the country. These figures suggest that almost three children die each day. Some experts concerned with researching child homicides in South Africa state that the official statistics, as horrific as they may be, are an undercount.

Child Homicides Second Most Common Cause of Death

One such expert on child homicides in South Africa Mrs, Shanaaz Mathews, thinks many more children are victims of homicides because some cases are not appropriately investigated. He added that the cases might exceed those confirmed because authorities completely miss some child homicides. While in other instances, some killers don`t face prosecution.

In South Africa, more than 50  people are murdered every day. Sadly the 50 individuals, also include children. Because of these figures, some experts have concluded that violence has become entrenched in South Africa’s psyche.

To prove and show South Africans the extent of child homicides is enormous in South Africa, Mrs. Shanaaz Mathews embarked on a research project. While conducting the project, Shanaaz aimed to uncover the real extent of child deaths by getting forensic pathologists to provide her with dead bodies. The hundreds of bodies needed would mostly comprise of toddlers, newborn babies, teenagers, and infants. Once she would get the bodies, she would perform examinations on them to determine how exactly they died.

Performing a child death review is an everyday activity in developed countries. But Mrs. Mathews’s research operation would be the first of its kind in South Africa. Mrs. Mathews began her research in 2014, and it lasted the whole year. She and other fellow pathologists examined the corpses of 711 children at two mortuaries in Cape Town and Durban. At the end of the year, the conclusions of the research indicated to them that more than 15%  of the children examined died as a result of homicide. From these research results, Mathews and her team also found out that homicides were the second most frequent cause of demise for children in Cape Town and Durban.

Stopping Child Abuse Should be Everyone’s Duty

In South Africa, two patterns of behavior amongst teenagers or young children have been observed. Some street thugs recruit young teenagers in the country’s high rate of violent street crime. Whereas other young children become victims of deadly violence not caused by people with guns or knives but by mothers and fathers or friends and relatives. The violent actions mostly happen in living rooms, kitchens, and even around the dinner table and in front of TVs.

When such cases of child abuse reach South Africa’s courts, the justice system often fails the victims. Most cases of child abuse fall through the cracks. But it’s not just the justice system that fails the children abused. Some households have adults that let the abuse continue over and over without a word. The children in such households end up living a nightmare while their siblings and even parents remain silent. Such people don’t understand that it is not the police’s work to stop abuse alone, even though child abuse is not a topic many people discuss.



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