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Abuse at children’s home

 
St Michaels home for abused girls rocked by sex abuse allegations.
Abused teen girl
Scott Dunlop

Pic: Shutterstock

St Michaels home for abused teenage girls in Plumstead, Cape Town is addressing allegations of sexual abuse, according to EWN.

Unsafe place of safety

The Western Cape Department of Social Development is pursuing an investigation after a therapist who has worked with the school revealed that:
  • Some girls at the home had been molesting others.
  • Management had ignored requests to intervene regarding the allegations.
St Michaels home is, according to their website, “an innovative therapeutic and developmental residential environment for 25 vulnerable young women... between the ages of 13 and 18, who have been seriously traumatized and removed from their families for their own protection and safety, by an order of the Children's Court. It is one of the few, if not the only, residential care facility, offering care for teenage girls.”

St Michaels relies heavily on the department as well as local churches and businesses for income.

Girls resident at the home, staff and board members were all interviewed, and according to a report, the allegations were found to be true. In addition, a criminal case has been opened in connection with the allegations against a male employee.

The bigger picture

The allegations come at a time when communities are attempting to address issues of rape and sexual abuse in the aftermath of recent high profile cases as well as shocking ongoing statistics regarding violence against women and children. That an existing initiative aimed at combating sexual abuse and reintegration of vulnerable children is not the haven hoped for but instead yet another place where vulnerable children may be abused is a source of distress for already compromised local communities.

The department will release recommendations based on the investigation into the allegations of sexual abuse of the vulnerable girls, and in the meantime has implemented security measures to ensure their safety.

If kids are being abused at home, at schools and even in places of safety, what can communities do to protect the most vulnerable members of society?

Read more on: rape  |  child abuse  |  parenting
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