Save the Children South Africa (SCSA) calls for unified efforts to protect children from the heightened risk of violence, exploitation and abuse during the COVID-19 outbreak. Since the start of the lockdown in there has been a reported spike in child abuse. In the first week of the lockdown, 27 to 31 March, the South African Police Service received 2,300 complaints in relation to gender-based violence. It is unfortunate that such data is not disaggregated to show extent of the problem on children.
“This could be an indication that children are not able to report abuse, because they are stuck with their abusers at home due to the lockdown. Several studies have previously shown that children are mostly abused by people known to them, 55% of children have been physically abused by caregivers, educators or relatives. 58% of parents use physical punishment and 33% of these use a belt or stick.” says SCSA’s Child Protection Programme Manager, Duduzile Skhosana.
Our fight to end violence against children received a major boost from the Constitutional Court late last year. The court prohibited the use of corporal punishment in the home, however there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure that our children are safe. Government, civil society and the private sector must invest in preventative measures like positive parenting.
SCSA’s Child Protection Programme encourages and teaches communities in South Africa (SA) on positive parenting that applies principles of child engagement, warmth and good structure to help children to attain their full potential. During this Child Protection Week (31 May – 07 June), we will continue to engage with parents digitally on positive parenting.
SCSA also echoes the call by UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on states, including SA, to prioritise children in every response and recovery effort to address the health, social, educational, economic and recreational impacts of the pandemic on the rights of the child.
For more information or to set up interviews contact: Sibusiso Khasa on 073 449 6871 or [email protected]
About: Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. In South Africa and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share.
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