South African children have been facing torture and currently reported missing, dead or raped, some face discrimination in healthcare, education and other areas
The National Child Protection week campaign that started on the 28 May to end on the 4th June 2017 is lead by Minister of Social Development.
This is a time to focus on issues faced by young South Africans under the age of 18 are, the week is marked annually to raise awareness for the rights of children.
The Department of Social Development officially launched Child Protection Week at an event in Langa outside Cape Town on Sunday.
Under the theme “Let us all Protect Children to Move South Africa Forward”, the department’s campaign will seek to raise awareness and educate society about the rights of children.
As Child Protection Week is observed across the country, school janitors in Cape Town appear in court on Wednesday for the rape of an 11-year-old pupil.
Nineteen children have been killed in the Western Cape alone since the beginning of the year and many of the perpetrators are known to the families of the victims.
It is also reported that one in every three children are victims of sexual violence or physical abuse before they reach the age of 18.
South Africans at large plays a role in protecting children and creating a safe and secure environment, the government has called on all South Africans to support Child Protection Week by wearing a green ribbon.
The Bill of Rights in the Constitution specifically states that every child has the right to be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation. South Africa has also drafted legislation to protect children which is based on the United Convention of the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.
Protections are further reinforced through the Children’s Act, which emphasises the State’s role in the provision of social services to strengthen the capacity of families and communities to care for and protect children.
Deputy Director-General at the Department of Social Development, Connie Nxumalo, says communities must unite to protect children. “We need to create an environment or a community where our children can grow in a safe space because they need to be safe. We need to ensure that we protect and strengthen families because that’s where violence starts”. “When you hear the reports, the children are violated by the people they know -people close to them.”
Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize says their key focus is on child-trafficking during child protection week. “The big thing that we are looking at also is the vulnerability of children who have been abducted and brought through our borders illegally and they are kept as sex slaves. They are neglected, they are not documented. So those are some of the things that we focus on upon this week.”
Parents are expected to take part in such events and are suppose to continue to take good care for their children even after the campaign.
For any child or anyone aware of a child in need assistance is available at: Department of Social Development has a 24-hour call centre dedicated to provide support and counselling to victims of gender based violence:
Call – 0800 428 428, free SMS line by dialling *120*7867#, call Child Line toll-free number or 011 452 4110, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org