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Domestic violence levels in SA (along with violent crime in general) are significantly higher than global averages. The reason for this is a cause for considerable national debate. Poverty is often put forward as a factor that supports crime, but on its own, it is an unsatisfactory answer because levels of violent crime in SA are significantly higher than in many countries with comparable poverty rates. The historic position of women in society, together with SA’s violent history, are also proposed as explanations. These are all issues that can contribute to increased levels of violence, but academic research suggests there is a critical contributing factor we are missing: malnutrition, and childhood malnutrition in particular. There is a relationship between hunger and crime and, if the hunger is acute, with violent crime. People whose families are starving might go to extreme measures to find food. But there is another, less visible but just as important, link between how much foo...

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