Statistics from the Gender-Based Violence Protection Unit of the Namibian Police indicate that 51 children were raped between May last year and May this year – in Windhoek alone.
Child neglect also features prominently amongst the abuse perpetrated against children as 27 such cases were recorded between May last year and April this year.
In addition, 22 children were kidnapped between June last year and April this year.
A further 12 cases of attempted rape were recorded between June last year and February this year, figures seen by New Era indicate.
The statistics were revealed a day after Namibia joined the rest of the continent to commemorate the Day of the African Child on Tuesday. The Gender-Based Violence Protection Unit also recorded 21 cases of assault with grievous bodily harm, again with children as victims,
between May last year and April this year.
Child abandonment was also reported at the unit with four cases recorded between October last year and February this year. Furthermore, five children were abducted between June last year and April this year.
A case of the murder of a minor was also recorded, with the father of the child reportedly being the perpetrator.
These cases of abuse were perpetrated against children who are between 18 years of age and younger in Windhoek.
Officials at the Gender-Based Violence Protection Unit told New Era that the perpetrators of these heinous acts include close family members and strangers.
The spokesperson of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Emma Mbekele, told New Era yesterday that children have the right to a safe childhood and a life free of violence.
The impact of abuse does not stop when the act stops, she added. Subsequently, it manifests itself in the day-to-day functions of a child and follows them into adulthood.
“Research has found that children exposed to domestic violence and abuse are at an increased risk of emotional and behavioural problems, including anxiety, depression and academic problems,” said Mbekele.
Speaking at the celebration of the Day of the African Child at Groot Aub on Tuesday, Ingrid Cupido, the children’s advocate in the office of the ombudsman remarked that children are “our country’s most precious gems” and that they should be protected in order to build a strong nation rather than to continuously seek solutions to heal a broken nation.