Violence Unwrapped: The social and economic burden of violence against children in South Africa

Violence against children exists in every country in the world, cutting across culture, class, education, income and ethnic origin. South Africa is no exception. Violence against children can have lifelong adverse health, social and economic consequences for survivors, including behavioural problems and risky sexual behaviours; mental and physical health conditions; increased risk of delinquency, criminal and violent behaviours; disability from physical injury; reduced health-related quality of life; lower levels of educational achievement and impaired capacity of adults to generate income.

Information on the cost of violence against children in South Africa will be crucial to further develop the child protection system in terms of the design, the enforcement and the effective allocation of budget for the operation of the system. Thus additional evidence and information on the economic burden of violence against children in South Africa and its budget implications are needed for planning, coordination and investing in violence prevention.

Save the Children South Africa aims to advocate for an effective child protection system that prevents and responds to violence against children. To make this happen, the government needs data and evidence to understand the consequences of violence against children both to the individual victims and their families, and to the society as a whole. In this way, violence against children can be understood as the public policy issue that it is, having implications for social and economic costs if not addressed.

The purpose of this study was to estimate the economic burden of violence against children in South Africa. The researchers assembled summative estimates of lifetime prevalence, calculated the magnitude of associations with negative outcomes, and thereby estimated the economic burden of violence against children. The data generated in this study is intended to advance the awareness of policy makers of the economic impact of violence against children and therefore support budget allocations and investments in this regard.

Published 2016-11-28

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