Children 12 to 17 years most at risk of rape
29 Mar 2011
Three years' records from Thuthuzela Care Centres for rape victims indicate that children between the ages of 12 and 17 years are most at risk of sexual assault, says Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Ms Lulu Xingwana.
Minister Xingwana was speaking at the official opening of the Thuthuzela Care Centre at Kopanong Hospital in Vereeniging today. Thuthuzela Care Centres are being established in communities with high incidents of sexual assault to provide a one-stop comprehensive service to rape victims.
“In just three years, 28 Thuthuzela Care centres have been established in the country, with more than 34 000 victims visiting the centres for assistance. The group of children between the ages of 12 and 17 years are emerging as the most vulnerable group, constituting the majority (about 15 000) of the people visiting these centres,” said Minister Xingwana.
Minister Xingwana said it is therefore necessary to scale up initiatives aimed at protecting girls from rape and empowering young people in general. She said the establishment of the Thuthuthuzela centres across the country contributes to the campaign to raise awareness and prevent cases of abuse.
“These centres are contributing to an increase in reporting of sexual assault cases as victims know that they now have a place to run to for assistance, where they are treated with dignity and respect,” said Minister Xingwana.
At Thuthuzela centres, rape survivors receive comprehensive treatment and care, including antiretroviral drugs to reduce the risk of HIV infection, treatment of sexually transmitted infections, prevention of unwanted pregnancy and counselling. Victims are also assisted to open a criminal case and provide evidence that is critical for the arrest and successful prosecution of perpetrators of these horrendous crimes.
Minister Xingwana said the expansion of Thuthuzela centres demonstrates the seriousness of our government about fighting crimes against women and children.
Already Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) units have been established in all 176 policing areas. These units have police officers trained to deal with cases of abuse and include forensic social workers to assist child victims in particular to submit compelling evidence in court.
“Rapists and perpetrators of violence against women and children have no place in our society. Let us work with our criminal justice system to put all abusers where they belong – behind bars,” said Minister Xingwana urging the local community to report cases of abuse.
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Issued by: Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities
29 Mar 2011
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