n Child Abuse Research in South Africa - Silent victims of rape : police effectiveness in dealing with child rape cases

Volume 7, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1562-1383



Police statistics attest to the fact that child abuse is increasing in South Africa. There are a number of progressive legal policies that have been developed to protect the rights of children. Despite this legislative framework, however, it seems that children's rights are being violated on a daily basis and that police are not equipped to deal with the problem effectively. Since justice is not always seen to be done, the investigative process sometimes has the effect of silencing the child rape victim and this leads to secondary abuse. The aim of this study was to determine how effective the police are in dealing with child rape victims. A qualitative research approach was followed where parents/caregivers (mainly black and working class), social workers and police officials were interviewed to determine how effectively the police dealt with child rape cases. The findings revealed that in certain areas the police have improved the manner in which they deal with child rape cases since the research done previously by the Human Rights Commission (2002). Nevertheless, there are still major problems in how these cases are investigated by the police and how victims are supported in the investigation process. Recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the police are made in this study.

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