The South African Constitution’s Bill of Rights provides children the right to care and protection, yet thousands of children experience abuse daily (physical/sexual and psychological) (1). Not much is known about child homicides in South Africa. Only one South African study using data from the National Injury Mortality Surveillance System (NIMSS) for four urban areas among 0-14 year olds report homicide rates following similar patterns to global rates, with the highest rate among young male children aged 0-4 years (2). Of significance, studies from high income countries indicate that a substantial proportion of child homicides are due to child abuse and neglect, including physical and sexual abuse as well as neglect and negligent behaviour (3). Generally younger children are most at risk of fatal child abuse and neglect due to their dependence on carers and inability to protect themselves (4-6). The Gender & Health Research Unit of the South African Medical Research Council has completed a national study of child homicides in 2009 and this research brief summarises its findings on the magnitude of child homicide and deaths related to child abuse and neglect.
View the complete Child homicide patterns in South Africa: Is there a link to child abuse? policy brief