Minister De Lille "Extremely Frustrated" over Spike in Child Neglect Cases | Western Cape Government


Minister De Lille "Extremely Frustrated" over Spike in Child Neglect Cases

25 April 2011

Patricia de Lille, the Minister of Social Development in the Western Cape, says she is "extremely frustrated that after calling on parents to properly supervise their kids over the weekend, the initial signs are that there has been an increase in child neglect cases".


One of the Department's NGO partners, Nazareth House, yesterday evening told television news they experienced a spike in emergency admissions of children needing safe care over the weekend, with three little ones being brought in.

"This morning Nazareth House told us that in most cases parents are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and simply forget about their children. This is particularly disturbing for me because on Thursday I urged parents to take special care of their youngsters," Minister de Lille says.

"More and more babies are also being admitted to Nazareth House with serious brain damage, as well as other physical and mental disabilities, from drugs and alcohol."

Minister de Lille says a study conducted at the Sterkfontein Hospital in Gauteng, with a sample of 128 individuals charged with sexual offences against a minor, "has once again highlighted the direct link between alcohol and drug abuse, and child abuse".

The study found that:

  • 99% of the accused were male.
  • Their average age was around 32 years.
  • Over 84% of the victims were female.
  • Over three quarters of the accused were unemployed.
  • And, only 16% of the offenders were found to be not responsible for their crimes because of mental illness.

"For us to reverse this situation, parents and communities need to take responsibility for the protection of their children. They must break the silence and contact the police whenever they suspect child abuse," says de Lille.

"The findings also remind us as Government and citizens that we must create jobs, jobs and more jobs, because unemployment and the resultant poverty are amongst the root causes of many of our social ills, like substance abuse."

"Finally I want to reiterate that there is absolutely no excuse whatsoever for abusing children," de Lille says.

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