Things are getting worse [1]:

The South African Star newspaper, in November 2007, ran a series of articles highlighting the plight of small children, and the levels of abuse against the little ones. Here are some of the findings they draw attention to:

Of all rapes reported in South Africa a quite staggering 40.8% were committed against children – and that is a conservative figure since child rapes are even more under reported to the authorities than adult rape.

A couple of nasty stories:

  1. A little girl, under the age of one, was recently admitted to the Cape Town Children’s Hospital after a brutal attack by her father. He had bitten her all over her small body after taking tik [crack cocaine].
  2. A visiting friend snatched a small girl from her room whilst her mother was cooking lunch and her father was out. By the time the girl was found, she had been severely beaten and raped.

Small children are, quite simply, in great danger: that is why we have to keep working to try to prevent such violence.

Lesley Rudd
Chief Executive
the infant trust

[1] Data taken from Childline SA, a nine year study at Children’s Hospital, Cape Town and the SA Medical Research Council

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We are proud and honoured that our work has been recognised by the UK Prime Minister, and that he has given Lesley his Point of Light award, stating
With the Infant Trust Lesley has empowered thousands of women across South Africa to protect and safeguard children in their communities. The education and training she has provided has helped to improve the lives of over 800,000 children, tackling the violence and abuse that affects too many of them in their early years. As we mark International Women’s Day this week I am delighted to recognise all that Lesley has done.”
You can find the full story at
Why are so many small children abused by male perpetrators in South Africa? Our researcher interviewed 27 perpetrators in prison in South Africa; all are in jail after being found guilty of some of the most terrible crimes against some of the most vulnerable children – some as young as a few days old. Those interviewed are all men aged between 16 years and 84 years old, and all have brutalised and raped at least one child. But the findings aren’t maybe what we might expect – it makes interesting reading.  We have been funding research into this for 5 years and it is finally finished and published .

Our flagship Caring for Crèches programme has reached into some of the poorest communities in five of the nine provinces in South Africa and we have crèche leaders everywhere clamouring for the training. We have now trained over 2,200 people and they in turn have already positively impacted on the lives of over 160,000 children … and will continue to help many hundreds more children for years to come