Prevention of sexual child abuse: the need for an ecological, risk-factor approach

29 June 2016

In South Africa, the new Children’s Act 38 of 2005 was promulgated, inter alia, to reduce statutory intervention in the lives of South African families and make family members and communities mainly responsible for the protection of their children. However, despite impressive legislation, action plans, and school-based prevention programmes, a significant increase of 36.1 percent in reported sexual offences against children between 2008/2009 and 2009/2010 was announced by the South African Police Service. This literature review, firstly, explores the scope and impact of sexual child abuse and, thereafter, highlights international and national response to the plight of prevention. Following this, an ecological framework is applied, where prevention requires an understanding of the factors that increase the risk of childhood sexual abuse. Lastly, intervention research is proposed for the way forward