Police probe rape of boy, 5, by girl cousin

17 March 2014 - 02:01 By Nivashni Nair
Joan Van Niekerk
Joan Van Niekerk
Image: Supplied

Police are investigating an allegation that a 12-year-old girl in KwaZulu-Natal raped her five-year-old cousin.

Provincial police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane confirmed that a case of rape had been opened.

A frantic mother from Zwelisha informal settlement near Verulam, north of Durban, contacted a private security firm a week ago and told Suren Balram that while bathing her son he had cried out in pain. She saw that his penis was bruised.

The child told her that his cousin had "done that to him".

Zwane said no arrests had been made and that the Phoenix Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit was dealing with the matter.

The girl has not been removed from her home, where she shares a mattress on the floor with her cousin.

Childline manager Joan van Niekerk said it was highly unlikely that the girl would face a criminal charge in court.

"I have yet to meet a 12-year-old who can grasp the concept of sex and the criminal aspects attached to it.

"But it doesn't mean that nothing should be done. The child, if there is proof, must be given an opportunity to look at her behaviour and learn what is appropriate," she said.

Van Niekerk said the girl would no doubt be "very traumatised" by the consequences of her alleged behaviour.

"A programme should look at her behaviour and her sense of trauma as well."

Van Niekerk said it was not uncommon for children to observe and copy adults until they reach maturity, when they would know what was acceptable and what was inappropriate.