oa Crime Research in South Africa - Are we failing to deliver the best interest of the child?
Children constitute the most vulnerable group in contemporary democratic South African society. On 22nd September 2002 Keppler (2002:5) reported that there were about 173 000 cases relating to child abuse on the roles of South African courts. One week later, on 29th September 2002, Smith (2002:11) reported findings of the Ciet study, indicating that from a group of 9000 children one in four reported that they believe condoms cannot prevent AIDS/HIV-infection. About 14 percent of these young people believed that sex with a virgin is a cure for HIV/AIDS - and one-third of them were convinced that they have had AIDS already during the time of the research. Asked about the prevalence of sexual abuse in Gauteng during the Ciet Africa study (South African Human Rights Commission 2002:8-9) 77 percent of the respondents said sexual violence is common or very common. Twenty percent of the female and 13 percent of the male respondents under 18 years of age reported suffering from some form of sexual violence. Sexual relationships are arguably the most complicated humans can engage one another. Adults fail in these relationships - even under normal circumstances. How much more will the negative impact be on children when their first experiences with their sexuality are negative ones.
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