Have a heart and support those children in need of care | Western Cape Government

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Have a heart and support those children in need of care

5 December 2019

The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital (RCWMCH) is appealing to members of the public to reach out to children, and to prioritise the safety of children under their care ahead of the upcoming festive season. With 16 days of activism for no violence against children (16 Days Campaign) being observed, the Hospital can reveal that a staggering 635 incidents involving violence against children have been treated between January and October this year. Of concern, neglect (149), physical abuse (175), and sexual abuse (92) represent 66% of all cases.

Statistics of this year’s cases reveal that there is an association between the high number of patients admitted to the Hospital, and domestic violence and alcohol/ drug abuse by negligent carers. There is no gender bias in the statistics with an even distribution. Of greatest concern to the Hospital management is the increasing trend of child gunshot injury victims who are being caught in cross-fire incidents.

Dr Anita Parbhoo, Medical Manager at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital explains: “Health resources are being redirected to provide high value care for these young victims which places a burden on our other services. It is terribly saddening and emotional and the entire hospital community is rocked by these cases. We call on the public to reach out and support children in need of care and protection.”

Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, Western Cape Minister of Health, echoes the Hospital’s message by calling on the whole community to take responsibility for their children, and our future. “I would also like to appeal to doctors, nurses, teachers, friends, family and community members to have a heart, to have the courage to look, listen and to reach out and support children in need of care and protection.”

Any person can report suspected child abuse or neglect if they believe, on reasonable grounds, that a child is in need of care and protection. Please report these cases to: A dedicated child protection organisation (e.g. ChildLine); the Provincial Department of Social Development; or to the South African Police Service.

Incidents involving child injuries treated at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital (January 2019 – October 2019)

Type of abuse Number of cases presented at RCWMCH
Abandonment 6
Intentional burn injuries 30
Children at risk for abuse or neglect 49
Dog bite cases where children not supervised age appropriately 25
Gunshot injury cases 38
Ingestions (intentional poisoning or neglect) 4
Motor Vehicle Accidents (where the drivers are under the influence of alcohol or children unrestrained) 5
Neglect 149
Physical abuse 175
Sexual Abuse 92
Pedestrian Vehicle Accidents (where children are too young to be unsupervised on the road) 2
Not Non-Accidental Injuries (where the case was suspected to be abuse but upon investigation was found to not be abuse) 60

The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, through the Children’s Hospital Trust, is currently expanding the Emergency Centre, which is the reception point for most of these cases. Almost half of the R122 million funding target has been reached. Your assistance will go a long way in our service delivery efforts in the province. Visit www.childrenshospitaltrust.org.za to find out how you can help.


Media Enquiries: 

Dwayne Evans

Principal Communications Officer
Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital
Mobile: 072 236 8658
E-mail: dwayne.evans@westerncape.gov.za