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Violence Against Children Costs South Africa R238.58 Billion Annually, Researchers Say

Wednesday 7 December 2016

by Georgia State University

Newswise — JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Violence against children in South Africa cost the nation R238.58 billion (equivalent to $16.85 billion in U.S. dollars) in 2015, Save the Children South Africa revealed at a press conference today (Nov. 23).

A study commissioned by the children’s rights organization found the long-term effects of emotional, physical and sexual abuse have direct impact on the country’s economy.

“It was important for us to quantify the cost of violence against children on our Gross Domestic Product to highlight the urgency with which we need to act,” said Save the Children Chief Executive Officer Gugu Ndebele. “Violence against children takes all forms and in varying degrees impacts on our economy. Infringing on the rights of children is just too costly for us to ignore anymore.

The research report, which included data from national directories, surveys and reports, was led by the University of Cape Town in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh and Georgia State University.

"These findings highlight how preventing violence against children is a matter of urgency and is also an effective investment that will yield many social and economic returns for South Africa,” said Cathy Ward, associate professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cape Town.

“This study confirms that nations should make it a priority to address the problem of violence against children from a public health perspective,” said Xiangming Fang, associate professor in the School of Public Health at Georgia State. “A society that wants to reach its full economic potential, and the full potential of its citizens, should make it a priority to put resources into understanding the scale and consequences of the problem, and into preventing all types of abuse against children."

Researchers said their study was conservative because it focused on available data and did not account for cases of abuse that were not reported or documented.

Save the Children South Africa revealed the results at the start of its five-year campaign that aims to end violence against children.

“We were adamant that these findings should be a catalyst for change,” Ndebele said. “This study provided the research we needed to develop high-impact programs that will drastically reduce violence against children.”

For more information or to set up an interview contact: Lois Moodley on 011-27-0724401519 or [email protected].

To interview Dr. Fang, contact: Anna Varela, 404-413-1504 or [email protected].



About: Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. In South Africa and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share.

Note to the Editor: If children are affected, we’ve got something to say. Our team of experts are available for comments, interviews and information.

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