29 May 2014

South Africa: Government Will Not Tolerate Child Abuse

press release

Government has noted recent media reports which highlight the abuse of children and women . In the recent incidence neighbors suspected some wrong doing for a while. As government we thank those members of society that alerted the law enforcement agencies.

Acting GCIS CEO, Phumla Williams said, "Government calls on all communities to be vigilant about their surroundings and report any strange behaviour by people in their neighbourhood. Let us play our part, as citizens by reporting any suspected child or women abuse around your respective communities. It is time we stand up for our children and protect them against any form of neglect".

There are a number of ways to report such crimes anonymously. Government reiterates its commitment to ensure the perpetrators of women and children abuse face the full might of the law. Families and communities must work together with the police, prosecutors and courts to make sure that criminals are arrested and convicted of crimes against children.

Child abuse involves the betrayal of trust, and/or infringement of the rights of a child, and may take different forms such as physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, including child abandonment, and deprivation of a child the right to education.

A recent media report exposed a grandmother in Soweto who refuses to send her grandchild, who is in her care, to school. "Government views this act in a very serious light. The Children's Charter clearly states that all children have the right to free and equal, non-racial, non-sexist and compulsory education, as education is a right not a privilege. "Government is encouraged that the Gauteng Department of Social Development is investigating the matter, which should be resolved soon and the recent speedy arrest of the man in Springs who is suspected of having abused his wife and children over several years", said Williams.

Government has put in place child protection mechanisms such as legislation and international instruments that the country has ratified as a commitment to the protection of children's rights. Key amongst these is Section 28 of the Constitution, which specifically deals with and lays the foundation of children's rights. Other mechanisms include: The Children's Act 38 of 2005; The Sexual Offences Act 32 of 2007; The Child Justice Act; The Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989; The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, 1999.

"Children are the future of South Africa. Government has adopted a zero-tolerance approach towards child abuse and calls on all South Africans and sectors to partner with government in creating a safer and healthier environment for our children to thrive and together take South Africa forward. DO NOT LOOK AWAY!", said Williams.

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