Sexual Violence by Educators in South African Schools: Gaps in Accountability

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Sexual violence by educators against students in South African school is a serious, widespread issue that is generally well known. Concrete numbers for actual incidences are difficult to determine as many cases of abuse are never reported. Over the past decade, South Africa has adopted laws and policies to address the prevalent issue of educator-student abuse, yet sexual violence persists in South African schools with disquieting reality.

This report examines the gaps in accountability that exist for educator abuse of students in Gauteng province. Drawing upon desk research and interviews with government officials, NGOs, police, community members, and affected individuals, it identifies and discusses the problems that contribute to the government’s failure to hold abusive educators responsible for their actions and to protect and provide redress to the learners they have abused. It also situates these issues within a framework of South Africa’s international, regional, and domestic legal obligations, and provides recommendations aimed at filling these gaps.

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