Feb 4, 2023

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Silence and pitfalls in services: Child victims of crime left out in the cold

The latest staggering crime statistics show a more than 37% increase in child murders in the first three months of this year.

Although the data is difficult to understand are the stories of thousands of children who have survived the crimes committed against them, leaving them with mental and often physical scars.

Children are abandoned, raped and sexually abused, and they often cannot rely on the services designed to protect them, according to new in-depth research from the University of Cape Town’s Children’s Institute.

Offenders go unpunished while Survivors carry the burdens of life.

The study, titled “Closing the gaps in services that response to crime against women and children,” found victims distrust law enforcement and fear harassment and ridiculed when they speak up.

“Their concern that relatives, come unit members and religious leaders would shrug off their calls for help is also real,” said researchers Prof .Shanaaz Mathews, Dr. Neziswa Titi and Lucy Jamieson.

“Children also find it particularly difficult to report offenders who, through emotional ties and connections, are close relatives or friends and feel responsible to their families protect against the stigma associated with sexual abuse.”

They said it was crucial to rely on the support and expertise of community members, religious leaders, teachers, To assist law enforcement and other sectors of society to understand these service providers and how they operate.

< span>“Because of this scourge, service providers and responsive services suffer from empathy fatigue. But this fatigue should not cause further harm to victims and survivors,” said Titi.

“Service providers have a duty to protect women and children from secondary trauma, and their behavior should not to continue silencing victims and survivors.”

The researchers said response services such as law enforcement agencies and non-governmental organizations are mandated to take specific actions, and members should respond appropriately trained to respond to victims of violence and provide them with the support they need.

Another problem is that such violence is becoming “normal” in many households Has.

Researchers found that the scourge has “normalized” for children who face daily sexual and gender-based violence at home.

However, they said, “Reassuringly, children and young people do not view the experience of sexual and gender-based violence as normal,” even if society does not p trouble them enough.

< span>They said the issue of silence around such crimes should be urgently addressed and a response from the whole of society is needed.

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