JOHANNESBURG, June 8 — While South Africa (SA) has progressive child protection laws, policies and programmes preventing and addressing violence against children, protecting children still remains a major challenges.
In order to highlight this issue and to educate families and communities, the Child Protection Week Campaign was held in the first week of June to raise awareness and tp mobilise all sectors and communities towards the perspective of a holistic development, the care and protection of children.
Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini says child protection is very important because children are vulnerable and they should be protected by families, schools and whoever works with children.
More people are reporting child abuse now than they ever did before. This shows that there is movement on the issue as before people previously were afraid to report it. Now with more people reporting the abuse and with interventions being available, the situation has improved.
According to the United National Children’s Fund (UNICEF), a strong, comprehensive child protection system is the first step towards stamping out violence against children and women and improving safeguards for orphaned and vulnerable children.
UNICEF works closely with the government to put systems in place that can help with early detection and response to violence against woman and children.
While there should be a focal department like the Department of Social Development, child protection is a broad issue that requires collaboration from different departments.
Patrizia Benventui, the UNICEF Chief of Child Protection in South Africa, says the country was known for having high levels of violent crime in general and in particular violence against women and children. She said violence against children in South Africa had reached what UNICEF describes as epidemic proportions.
On average in South Africa, 123 children are victimised every day.