Physical violencePhysical violence

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child defines physical violence against children as including all corporal punishment and all other forms of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment as well as physical bullying and hazing by adults or other children. In extreme cases, this form of violence can result in a child's death.

Those who intentionally use physical force against children are often adults in positions of trust and authority, such as a child's caregivers, family members or teachers. Children may also experience physical violence at the hands of their peers.

Adolescents experiencing corporal punishment at school

Despite the legal prohibition of corporal punishment in schools in South Africa since 1997, the use of corporal punishment in schools continues to be widespread.

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Adolescents experiencing physical abuse

Surveys allow us to capture experiences of physical violence at any point during a child's life, including those incidents that have not been reported to authorities.

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Common assault against a child

Assault refers to a physical attack, beating or the threat of an attack. Many of these incidents are not reported to the police.

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Assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm

This form of assault involves the intention to cause serious physical harm to a child. The high number of reported cases is indicative of the extreme nature of violence faced by many children in South Africa.

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Child murder

Murder statistics are regarded as the most reliable crime statistics because the presence of a body makes them difficult to dispute or manipulate. But a number of child murders remain hidden, such as when deaths due to abuse are attributed to natural or accidental causes, or when infants are 'dumped' or abandoned after birth.

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University of Cape Town
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