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During this year's #16DaysofActivism, IOL puts the spotlight on those who dedicate their lives to fighting violence against women and children.

Cape Town - All children need a home in which they are loved, cared for, and most importantly, safe from harm.

Because SOS Children’s Villages understands that not every person dedicates their time to ensure children are safe, the organisation recognised that even within their own communities there are times when children's safety can be compromised.

The organisation now has eight child safeguarding investigators working around the clock to ensure that the children in the SOS villages are in the safest possible environment and investigate instances where possible breaches are reported. 

SOS investigators do not receive monetary compensation for their hard work and dedication. They are volunteers whose reward is the knowledge that the children they work with are protected to the best of their ability.

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What exactly is the function of these child safeguarding investigators? 

The investigators tackle allegations of child abuse at their facilities by finding out the facts and conducting a thorough investigation. They then make recommendations focused on strengthening SOS Children’s Villages' care.

They are also tasked with increasing the knowledge and skills of SOS Children’s Villages co-workers to strengthen their ability to respond appropriately to reported safeguarding concerns and to act on allegations within the organisation.

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"We are witness to cases where parents have failed their children, and we see the immense toll that this takes on these children. We call on our government to implement law, policy and practice to create protective environments for women and children. We also appeal to government to train and encourage health care professionals on the detection and reporting of early signs and symptoms of child abuse and neglect and intervene early, prioritising prevention efforts to break the cycle of child maltreatment, especially at home," the organisation said.

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"SOS Children's Villages has zero tolerance to any form of abuse or harm to children. It is the responsibility of the organisation and all its co-workers and associates to ensure that children and young people supported by SOS programmes are safe and protected,"