Shaheda Omar, Leila Patel


Child-on-child sexual abuse in South Africa has been recognised only recently as a significant social problem, reflected in the dearth of research on the topic. There is also a lack of evidence in South Africa on the extent of abuse and issues that relate to youth sex offending (Ehlers & Wood, 2001; Mbambo, 2002). It is difficult to establish the extent of either child-on-child or child-on-adult sex offending in South Africa, because not all of these cases are reported or recorded (Stout, 2003). It is estimated, however, that 42% of sexual offences reported to Childline, a national help-line providing crisis intervention services, are committed by other children (Vanzant, 2004) and the latest statistics available from the Department of Correctional Services (2007) show that on 31 January 2007 a total of 288 children were in prison for crimes of a sexual nature. It was reported in the Pretoria News that in South Africa a daily average of 82 children were charged for indecently assaulting or raping other children (Maughan, 2006:1). There is also a dearth of empirical international research and literature on the origins of child-on-child sexual abuse (Lightfoot & Evans, 2000).

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