Child abuse a 'time bomb'

South Africa, and the province of KwaZulu-Natal, is sitting on a time bomb when it came to violence against children, Childline KwaZulu-Natal said yesterday.

Spokesman Linda Naidoo said that beatings and killings related to this issue are escalating.

"Not a day goes by without us hearing of these cases."

Naidoo said the abuse of children did not happen in isolation.

"It is common for the perpetrator to show signs of aggression. There is a history of this kind of behaviour. It is up to the spouse, in this instance the mother, to have been aware of this and to have taken steps to protect the child."

She said if adults continued to be trapped in violent relationships and submitted to the beatings, then the beatings intensified and the children suffered.

"If there is submission by a partner to the violence, then the beatings get worse. The aggressor turns on the child . and the child is powerless."

Recently released statistics showed the Western Cape had the highest rate of child killings and KwaZulu-Natal the worst cases of sexual abuse against children.