Skip to main content


Monday 29 May 2023
May 2023 –The scourge of violent crimes committed against children in South Africa is at an all-time 
high, the country has been marred with numerous reports of gruesome crimes against children in 
recent weeks. Our country’s history of violence and inequality compounded with today’s high poverty 
and unemployment rates, places many children at risk of domestic violence, substance abuse, sexual 
abuse and neglect. 

According to last year’s second quarter crime stats, 558 children were killed between April and 
September, while between July and September the police were investigating attempted murder 
dockets of 294 children. Additionally, third quarter statistics show an increase in child murders with 
315 children under the age of 17 killed between October and December 2022. These deplorable acts 
of violence against children can no longer be tolerated in our society. We have failed our children and 
we cannot continue with business as usual.

The elimination of violence against children including their overall protection is our collective 
responsibility. As a country, we must take the long view if we truly want to end violence against 
children, tipping the balance from viewing it as a criminal justice issue towards prevention. We need 
to recognize that violence results from the failure of all of us to provide the support, opportunities 
and safety nets that underpin a functional society. 

“Violence is directly affecting our people, communities, health, education, wellbeing and national 
prosperity. It undermines all our investment in these areas. Our very democracy. There is nothing 
more important than violence prevention for the future of our children.” Gugu Xaba, Interim CEO, 
Save the Children.

The key towards the prevention of violence against children is collaboration between government, 
academia, civil society, children, and various other stakeholders to prevent violence from happening 
in the first place. South Africa hasthousands of experts, organizations and institutions already involved 
in trying to prevent violence against children, but the sector is highly fragmented, and organizations 
tend to operate in isolation. This lack of coordination and collaboration extends to the substantial 
number of interventions we have in place to respond to the challenge. They simply do not add up to 
a systemic approach, and so we do not see these interventions working well together to strengthen 
the protective environment around each child.

“We are in an urgent race to save our children’s lives. As an organization, we will continue to garner 
support from government, civil society and the corporate sector. Strategic partnerships and alignment 
with national and global coalitions and with the media are key to achieving our goal of strengthening 
the capacity of duty bearers through scaling up violence-prevention programmes in the spaces that 
our children find themselves in.” Gugu Xaba.

About Save the Children South Africa 

Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. In South Africa and around the world, we work 
every day to give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. 
When crisis strikes, and children are most vulnerable, we are always among the first to respond and 
the last to leave. We ensure children’s unique needs are met and their voices are heard. We deliver 
lasting results for millions of children, including those hardest to reach.
We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and 
the future we share.

For media enquiries please contact: 
Chule Charlie [email protected] 063 355 0913