Why Is Little Angels Needed?

While murder is often used as the main indicator to support arguments that South Africa is a violent country, it makes up only 2.5% of all violent crime. While there were 15,609 murders last year, a total of 607,877 other violent crimes including attempted murder, rape, robbery and assault were also reported to the police.

Source: https://africacheck.org/2013/09/19/where-murder-happens-in-sa/

Stats – Crime

When looking at crime stats it’s important to understand that many crimes aren’t reported to the police as they happen within the home – it’s not unusual that women are raped by relatives, family members steal food and money from other family members and that there is physical violence within the home. Young offenders may also not be reported to the police, but many children at a young age sexually abuse other children; presumably acting out what they see in the home.

It is also important to note that whilst murder is much more prevalent in poor areas and gang wars and solving conflicts using weapons seem greatly responsible for them, theft and robbery is more prevalent in richer neighborhoods.

There is also a lot of corruption happening in South Africa meaning the police is paid off not to arrest certain people, such as drug dealers, whom they have a close relationship with. Likewise, some crime files disappear, or criminals are released when there seems to be no logical reason for doing so. It’s therefore crucial to bear in mind that crime statistics are not always reliable – there is more crime happening than what meets the eye.

As a result of this corruption communities often take to upon themselves to defend themselves, be it through neighborhood watch groups, or vigilantes.

IMG_1418

In the table below you find some statistics we sourced from the Crime Stats South Africa site for Hout Bay. It is uncertain whether these crimes include the crimes happening in the townships in Hout Bay – Imizamu Yethu (Mandela Park) and Hangberg. Given our close co-operation with Child Welfare and Social Development, as well as the police, we are positive they do not include child abuse reported in Hangberg and Imizamu Yethu.

To understand how the numbers translate, the total population of Hout Bay is 17,900 and it’s debatable how many of the people in Hangberg and Imizamu Yethu that includes.

Crime Rates Hout Bay – from Crime Stats SA

Crime

2004

2009

2013

2014

2015

Murder

17

11

22

19

14

Sexual Offences

48

49

46

23

41

Attempted Murder

21

9

17

13

3

Assault with the Intent To Inflict Grievous Bodily Harm

201

150

172

133

143

Common Assault

260

183

194

169

164

Common Robbery

56

22

72

55

66

Robbery with Aggravating Circumstances

33

64

143

168

203

Arson

3

1

3

0

0

Malicious Damage to Property

158

182

117

131

120

Burglary at Non-residential Premises

78

20

38

46

53

Burglary at Residential Premises

640

496

620

513

381

Theft of Motorvehicle and Motorcycle

49

25

24

37

32

Theft Out of or From Motor Vehicle

546

300

468

312

271

Stock-theft

1

0

0

0

0

Illegal Possesion of Firearms and Ammunition

4

4

7

7

9

Drug Related Crime

14

171

221

492

352

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs

34

122

111

81

69

All Theft not Mentioned Elsewhere

603

545

584

445

422

Commercial Crime

31

65

58

41

48

Shoplifting

30

39

12

15

13

Carjacking

0

1

1

0

3

IMG_1131

The following excerpt explains why organizations such as Little Angels and community programs are so important:

Murder rates are driven by poverty, social ills and society’s general inability to deal with daily conflict and stress in a non-violent manner. Murder should therefore be seen as a social problem which cannot be solved by policing alone.

Unfortunately, South Africa does not have a comprehensive strategy that guides government departments, civil society organisations and the public and encourages practical ways to reduce interpersonal violence.  This means that the police are saddled with the problem, an impossible task for one organisation to achieve.

Violence prevention requires long-term interventions. These may not be politically exciting to sell to a crime-weary public but are more likely to yield real results in reducing violence. Interventions which focus on improving parenting skills, reducing the exposure of children to violence and building self-esteem are more likely to interrupt the cycle of violence than anything the police can do.

South Africa has a shortage of over 50,000 social workers yet almost 70,000 additional police officials have been hired over the past ten years. It is about time that the government adjusts its approach to violence so that we don’t waste another ten years pursuing policies that will not reduce violence in our country.

Source: https://africacheck.org/2013/09/19/where-murder-happens-in-sa/

Stats – HIV

The HIV rate, which plays a large part in creating havoc in the townships, as people still have many misconceptions about the disease and lose hope to live and therefore greatly damage their own lives and those around them when they find out they are affected. It’s also a big social stigma. For some reason the use of condoms has never caught on in Hangberg at the rate it should have.

A 2008 study revealed that HIV/AIDS infection in South Africa is distinctly divided along racial lines: 13.6% of black Africans in South Africa are HIV-positive, whereas only 0.3% of whites living in South Africa have the disease.

Condom use has increased twofold in all provinces between 2002 and 2008. The two provinces where condoms were least used in 2002 were also the provinces where condoms are least used in 2008, namely the Northern Cape and the Western Cape.

HIV/AIDS prevalence among sexually active South Africans by province are:

•KwaZulu-Natal: 25.8%

•Mpumalanga: 23.1%

•Free State: 18.5%

•North West: 17.7%

•Gauteng: 15.2%

•Eastern Cape: 15.2%

•Limpopo: 13.7%

•Northern Cape: 9.2%

•Western Cape: 5.3%”

Source: wikipedia.org

Due to HIV and drug misuse the average life span in Hangberg is not always as long as it could be. Therefore, programs like the ones provided at Little Angels which are there from someone is born until their late teens is essential to provide stability if family members pass away or succumb to drug misuse.

The Role of Little Angels as “the Other Parent”

Growing up in a “normal” household you take it for granted that there is someone there to guide a child. To teach them basic guidelines about life and ensure their health is looked after. This isn’t always the case in Hangberg, so in addition to providing general education, Little Angels serves as an extra family member of sorts. Below you find some areas where Little Angels often provide the support families fail to do.

  • Explaining the link between education, work and money
  • Looking for signs of illness, discomfort, aggression, drug misuse and physical abuse and ensuring proper help is provided if such signs are found (doctors, police, therapists)
  • Homework help
  • Ensuring nutritious food is served
  • Teaching the consequences of substance misuse
  • Teaching the consequences of gang wars
  • Teaching the consequences of unprotected sex
  • Ensuring the kids are kept clean, their nails are cut and their nappies changed
  • Providing activities that keep children and teens engaged, therefore preventing they look for “entertainment” through drugs, sex, theft and violence
  • Helping children gain confidence through activities with other children, encouragement when they participate in activities and overall praise
  • Hugs
  • Ensuring there is someone to turn to if there is trouble at home, there is a lack of food, or something else concerns the child; there is someone they trust whom they can talk to
  • Explaining HIV; thereby ensuring those not infected understand how they can prevent being infected and why there is no stigma attached to those carrying the infection, as well as explaining to those infected how to best look after their health and that you can lead a perfectly normal lifestyle so long as you look after your health and medicinal needs
  • Helping children understand that abuse from parents and others has nothing to do with their character and thereby helping them recover their self-esteem
  • Ensuring kids grow up with options; that they get the education they need to make the choices they need to make

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