Johannesburg - Children in Gauteng and the Western Cape say that the government’s National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (NSP-GBVF) left the plight of children by the wayside and was more biased towards women.
With statistics and reports from the humanitarian aid organisation Unicef indicating that as many as 28 children were violently attacked every day in South Africa, with three of them not surviving, it should come as no surprise that children have stressed that they felt left out of government efforts to prioritise their safety.
This was revealed recently during roadshows held by the Department of Social Development to solicit feedback on the country’s blueprint document on combating GBVF.
The consultations started last week in Gauteng and the Western Cape, where children told leaders that the document was not child-friendly.
The consultations with children followed calls made during the Presidential Summit on GBVF held last year, which stressed that the document should have a separate pillar looking specifically at the plight of children.
This was especially true as the children expressed their dissatisfaction about adults speaking on their behalf during the summit.
At the recent roadshows, children stressed that they believed that the “gender” in gender-based violence indirectly referred to women and not children or boys.
In the same vein, they challenged the drafters to look into the document and count how many times children were distinctly mentioned in it.
A challenge with language was also raised, as the children expressed concern at how the document was in English, which they felt left communities clueless about what GBVF was.
“Siyaxolisa asiyizwa ukuthi ithini, iyasikhipha thina zingane zasemakhaya,” said 17-year-old Patience Sibande from Greytown, who explained that she had to constantly consult her dictionary because of the difficulty in terminology and language used.
They also stressed the need for a seventh pillar to enable them to show adults where the document needs to consider children and also look into having a child representative within the national steering committee.
“The document is sound but lacks inclusivity in the sense that it only mentions the LGBTQIA community towards the end; the document should include them throughout,” said 16-year-old Northern Cape child ambassador Shareez James.
Rebecca Smith, 17, added instead of a pillar, there should be a strategic document on how to deal with violence against children, seeing that adults had already drafted their own.
The consultations will continue in the Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga on Saturday with the inputs from kids being submitted to the national steering committee responsible for the NSP-GBVF to decide whether another pillar should be created as requested.