The Child protection week campaign took off on the 24th of May with programs taking place all over the province. This campaign is aimed at raising awareness and mobilizing all sectors and communities towards understanding the perspective of holistic development regarding the care and protection of children. The campaign has since been an annual campaign to educate and mobilize communities to put children first. This year’s event will be commemorated from 02 to 09 June 2019 and is celebrating its 22nd anniversary.
Violence against children cuts across boundaries of geography, race, class, religion and culture. It occurs in homes, schools and streets, in places of work and entertainment, and in care and detention centers. Perpetrators include parents, family members, teachers, caretakers, law enforcement authorities and other children, to name a few.
Some children are particularly vulnerable because of gender, race, ethnic origin, disability or social status. No country is immune, whether rich or poor. Violence is widespread in the South African society, to the extent that the country has been described as having the highest prevalence of violence and violence-related injuries in the world among countries where this is measured.
It is important to change the perception of people towards violence and increase the care and protection of children. Based on recent reports in the media, South Africa has been faced with numerous incidents of violence and community members are living in fear.
Northern Cape Province experienced the violation of children’s rights through serious abuse, including sexual abuse, in some cases leading to death. In recent months we heard of a mother who killed her two-year-old son by bashing him with a rock in the veld at Jakkalswater in Nababeep, while a 2 year old girl was kidnapped and her body found weighed down by a rock in the Vaal river. The Northern Cape also witnessed young children committing some of these horrendous acts, when a grade 8 pupil at Richmond High School was stabbed to death by another pupil at the school, while attending catch-up classes.
The 2019 theme, “let us all protect children to move South Africa forward,” emphasizes the safety and protection of children, in order to strengthen prevention and early intervention programmes. This will therefore include the capacitation of children, parents and the community at large.
The Provincial event will take place on 05 June 2019 from 14:00 to 16:00 at the Mayibuye Centre, Galeshewe in the Frances Baard District. Different stakeholders, parents and children will be given opportunities to deliberate on how violence by and against children can be addressed.
Learners from Tetlanyo High School and Thabane High School are targeted as the two schools which are mostly affected by violence. The Provincial Child Care and Protection unit, together with the Department of Social Development District office, as well as representatives from other Government departments, nominated parents and children will conduct a meeting a week after the programme to discuss the recommendations and draw up a plan of action.