Offering mental health support to mothers can help prevent child deaths

Most murders of children under the age of one are committed by mothers through ‘baby-dumping’ or inflicting of fatal injuries, a Western Cape survey has found, making it an imperative to address women’s mental health issues.
Image: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

Targeted interventions can limit the number of children being killed, as well as their fall into gangsterism.

So says Dr Chris Jones from the unit for moral leadership in the faculty of theology at Stellenbosch University.

Reviewing crime statistics, Jones said more children are being killed in the Western Cape than in any other province in SA. In 2017 and 2018 alone, 279 children were murdered in the province, according to police statistics.

“One of the reason why the Western Cape has such a high number of child killings is because existing research and proven interventions are not being used as they should to develop and implement policies and strategies for violence prevention and response that will help bring an end to child murders,” said Jones.

Jones was part of a research committee comprising academics from Stellenbosch University, and University of Cape Town and the University of the Western Cape, that looked at primary drivers of child murders in the province and gaps in existing government services.

The committee was formed after the Cape Town-based Trauma Centre for Survivors of Violence and Torture approached the Western Cape government to look into the spate of child murders. The provincial government adopted the committee’s recommendations.

Looking at murders of children under one year of age and those aged between one and nine years old, and between 10 and 17 years old, Jones said in a recent article in the journal HTS Theological Studies that the committee found the majority of murders in the first category are committed by mothers through “baby-dumping” or inflicting fatal injuries.

Read more of the story on TimesLIVE




Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here