CHILD PROTECTION WEEK: REDUCING VIOLENCE AGAINST SOUTH AFRICAN CHILDREN IS BOTH A MORAL IMPERATIVE (TO PROTECT OUR CHILDREN) AND AN IMPERATIVE FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT.
Today, the 29th of May 2016 the Minister of Social Development, Ms Bathabile Dlamini officially launched Child Protection Week under the theme “Let Us All Protect Children To Move South Africa Forward“.
This year, the week where we highlight the importance of creating safer communities for children comes at a time where Save the Children South Africa is currently – in collaboration with academics and experts- costing the social and economic burden of violence against children in South Africa. One of the key data sources of this VAC (Violence Against Children) Costing Study is the recent UBS Optimus Study On Child Safety– which is the first-ever representative data in South Africa on child maltreatment and exposure to other forms of violence.
Results of the Optimus Study in South Africa make it clear that, by the time they are 15–17 years old, many young South Africans have experienced sexual, physical or emotional abuse, neglect, or have been exposed to high rates of violence. Girls bear the brunt of abuse, neglect and bullying, while boys are more likely than girls to experience other forms of violence.
This Child Protection Week, we need to remind South Africans that the consequences of these forms of abuse are grave, and have implications both for the young people who suffer them, and for national development. Children who have been abused are more likely to engage in risky sexual activity and substance misuse, and to develop mental and physical health problems. These, in turn, undermine their capacity to succeed at school, to work, and to maintain healthy relationships. These problems cost the country enormously, both in terms of the costs of treating these problems, and in lost economic productivity.
As Save the Children South Africa:
- We are ensuring that no child in South Africa experiences violence.
- We are mobilising a movement to stop violence against children and letting their voices be heard.
- We are ensuring targeted and effective programmes to prevent and respond to violence against children.
- We are supporting innovative models for addressing the root causes of violence, through a critical exploration of societal norms and values that influence attitudes and behaviour.
Reducing violence against South African children is both a moral imperative (to protect our children) and an imperative for national development.
It can and must be achieved.
ABOUT SAVE THE CHILDREN SOUTH AFRICA
Save the Children South Africa is a local organisation fighting for the rights of children in South Africa; helping them fulfil their potential and working together with partners to achieve immediate and lasting change in children’s lives. Save the Children South Africa is part of the world’s largest independent development and rights based organisation for children represented in 120 countries worldwide.
For interviews and further information, please contact: Asanda Magaqa, Media Relations Manager, Save the Children South Africa Tel: 082 572 3232