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Children mimic what's been done to them

By unknown | Nov 02, 2006 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Dudu Busani

Children who commit sexual offences against other children are often mimicking what has been done to them, or what they have seen adults doing.

According to child psychologists, they often don't realise that they are committing a crime.

Last week an 11-year-old boy was beaten to death, allegedly by his mother, after he raped his six-year-old cousin at KwaMashu, north of Durban. Doctors have confirmed that she was raped.

South African law states that if a child commits a sexual offence against another child who is five years younger than him or her, they qualify to be charged and sentenced.

Linda Dhabicharam of Childline KwaZulu-Natal said 22percentof children she deals with are sexual offenders.

"A child's level of insight and criminal capacity is limited," Dhabicharam said.

"They are unable to understand the impact of what they are doing and the consequences they stand to face afterwards."

She said pornography plays a major role in influencing children to commit sexual crimes. Children "want to experience" what they see in the media.

"Children are easier to rehabilitate than adults and are more open to correction, which is why child sexual offenders should not be treated as criminals, but should be given help," she said.

l The mother of the 11-year-old boy has been arrested.

She appeared in court on Tuesday and will remain in custody until her next hearing later this month.


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