Durban - Non-profit organisations which work tirelessly to protect children against violence and abuse feel more could be done to protect children.
National Child Protection Week was commemorated between June 2 - June 9, under the theme, “Let us Protect All Children to Move South Africa Forward”.
It is commemorated to raise awareness of the rights of children.
Childline KZN Acting Director, Adeshini Naicker, said their Crisis Line was busier than usual during Child Protection Week and that could be attributed to the widespread awareness campaigns.
“Most of the calls were for advice on how to go about reporting abuse. There seemed to be an influx of calls from adults which is indicative of the fact that more adults are now paying attention to what’s happening with our children,” Naicker said.
She said people needed to understand that neglect and abuse of a child was a criminal offense regardless of whether they were the parent or not. It was ones obligation to report an incident of abuse or neglect otherwise they were just as guilty as the perpetrator.
Bobbi Bear director, Eureka Olivier, said Child Protection Week did not change anything. They were called to at least six rape and abuse cases of both boys and girls, all under the age of 13.
“To intensify the protection of children, there should be no bail and harsher sentences for rape and abuse cases,” Olivier said.
“And by the time the case comes, the children have started to forget. So they (courts) need to speed up the process and make rape and abuse of children a priority crime.”
Save the Children South Africa’s communications manager, Sibusiso Khasa, said they believed that we did not have to wait for a court ruling to outlaw corporal punishment in the home setting, we can act now.
“This is because 75 percent of physical child abuse occurs in the context of physical punishment and 45 percent of child homicides happen in the context of child abuse and neglect with such deaths mainly occurring in the under-five age group either in the home or by someone known to the child,” Khasa said.