Bower said a professional consensus was emerging that parents should be supported in learning non-violent, effective approaches to discipline, with experts agreeing that protecting children from violence during the first 1,000 days after conception can help decrease the scourge of violence in SA society.
"It is precisely during this period of great plasticity and vulnerability that many children are subjected to physical punishment. The effect can be a derailing of natural, healthy brain growth, resulting in life-long and irreversible abnormalities," she said.
While many parents underestimate the effects of violence on children, Bower said it increased the likelihood of becoming either a perpetrator or a victim of abuse.
Nt'sekhe said the DA was calling for the establishment of specialised units at police stations to deal with gender-based violence, particularly given the low conviction rates.
At least 131,210 gender-based violence cases were opened at police stations around Gauteng between 2014 and 2018, said the DA. Of these, only 44,522 arrests were made - and of those, only 9,786 resulted in convictions.
"It is worrying that many cases have been opened but the arrest and conviction rates are very low," said Nt'sekhe.