A recent study commissioned by the UBS Optimus Foundation and conducted by researchers from UCT and the Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention revealed terrifying results. 784 967 young people in South Africa are likely to have been victims of sexual abuse by the age of 17. This amount of people would fill Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg eight times. 351,214 of these cases of sexual abuse would have occurred in 2015 alone.

According to Bhekisisa, Mail and Guardian’s Centre for Health Journalism, 12 abused children could be sitting in your child’s classroom right now, and one in 10 children who have experienced sexual abuse by a known adult, have had this experience four or more times.

The World Health Organisation has revealed that an estimated 53 000 children are murdered each year worldwide.

The sexual abuse and maltreatment of children is preventable, but until now, a lack of data has hindered the development of systems needed to protect and support children. TEARS® Foundation has developed Medi-App®, an innovation that aims to identify and record signs of abuse in children under 12.

It is common for perpetrators of abuse to visit different medical institutions to find assistance for themselves or their victims – they do this to avoid disclosing the abuse they are perpetrating.

TEARS® makes use of the power of the “Cloud” through Medi-App® to assist clinicians in identifying cases of abuse. The application runs in a Microsoft Cloud Database, and allows clinicians to enter and search information where abuse is suspected or has been confirmed.

The first trial of Medi-App® was very successful, and involved 4 medical facilities, 6 medical professionals, and 156 children under 12 whose names were entered into Medi-App for concern of abuse, confirmed abuse, or a level of suspicion by the medical professional. The children comprised of 130 girls, and 26 boys.

TEARS® was shortlisted for the UBS Social Innovators title, among 12 other social enterprises, but we were unfortunately not selected to go forward as a finalist. Nevertheless, TEARS® is still a “Trailblazing Innovator”, and we were encouraged to apply for the title next year.