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Women in South Africa most at risk of violent crime

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Summary of story from Health-e News, September 15, 2011

Violent crime is a significant problem in South Africa and research shows that women and girls are most at risk, even 10 years after South Africa officially made it a public health priority.

Thirty-four out of every 100,000 die as a result of violent crime in South Africa, compared to 10 of every 100,000 in the UK.

Dr Norman Mabasa, who chairs the South African Medical Association, said research shows South Africa has the highest rate of violence against women and girls.

“In 1997, the South African government reported rape and sexual abuse to be increasingly rapid and a matter of grave concern. In 1996 to 1998, girls aged 17 and under constituted approximately 40% of reported rape”, Dr Mabasa said.

Gender-based violence and HIV and AIDS  in South Africa disproportionately affect women and children, said Peter Teljer, Sweden’s ambassador to South Africa.

Sweden set up a telephone help-line to address gender-based and sexual violence. In a country that has 10 million people, the help-line receives about 40,000 calls per year.

Dr Gustav Wolvaardt of the Foundation for Professional Development says that the reluctance of health care workers in dealing with cases of gender-based violence and the guilt felt by victims perpetuate the problem.

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