RONDEBOSCH, CAPE TOWN, 3 June 2019—Yesterday marked the start of child protection week. Over the next few days NGOs, researchers and citizens will be called on to end violence against children. It is just as important that there is a commitment from the highest level of government to protect South Africa’s children.
WOODSTOCK, CAPE TOWN, 22 May 2019— The Children's Institute and Media Monitoring Africa hosted 21 journalists at a media training workshop on Ethically Reporting on Violence Against Children in Cape Town 22 May 2019. The workshop was intended as a hands-on, practical training to empower reporters who cover stories and cases involving children with knowledge and skills in children's rights, ethics and the law surrounding children.
One of the first tasks of South Africa’s Sixth Parliament will be to determine the fate of the Children’s Amendment Bill. Despite content and process errors that could expose vulnerable children to harm and increase the burden on overworked social workers and discrepancies with both the National Child Care and Protection Policy and government’s strategy for early childhood development, the bill has been rushed to Parliament. So why the indecent haste?
The Children’s Institute and The Poverty and Inequality Initiative co-hosted a special seminar on the main findings and policy recommendations of a book published by Policy Press in the UK: Tracing the Consequences of Child Poverty: Evidence from the Young Lives study in Cape Town 10 April 2019.
Emeritus Associate Professor Andy Dawes and Professor Colin Tredoux, both from UCT’s Department of Psychology, co-authored the book alongside the University of Oxford’s Professor Jo Boyden and Dr Paul Dornan. Boyden is the director of Young Lives, the study on which Tracing the Consequences is based.
The South African Child Gauge is a crucial resource utilised by civil society, academic and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who advocate for the rights of South Africa’s children and pursue social justice, University of Cape Town (UCT) Children’s Institute (CI) director Professor Shanaaz Mathews told guests at the Cape Town launch of the 13th edition of the annual review.
South Africa is one of a small number of developing countries that’s formulated a national policy focused on families. A family policy, broadly defined, refers to everything a government does to promote the well-being of families, such as social grants, family services, or social housing. The country’s policy – known as the White Paper on Families – has three priorities. They are promoting healthy family life, strengthening the family and preserving the family.
UCT News [Nov. 20, 2018] -- More than 6 million of the country’s children regularly go hungry, with dire consequences for their capacity to thrive – or even survive – according to the 2018 South African Child Gauge, which urges the government to move swiftly to address the gaps in family services.
These children live below the food poverty line which, in real terms, means their families cannot provide even the minimum amount of nutrition they need.
Very few mothers in South Africa exclusively breastfeed for the first 6 months of life as recommended by the World Health Organisation – with only 1 in 4 babies exclusively breastfed by the time they are 4 – 5 months old. And these low exclusive breastfeeding rates contribute to the high prevalence of malnutrition, diarrhoea, pneumonia and under-five mortality in South Africa.
There are still 12 years to go before the UN sustainable development goals are finalised. For South Africa to meet the targets it must focus on providing evidence-based programmes for the most vulnerable and accelerate access to essential services.
Our overall evaluation is that South Africa has made significant progress with some targets. But it’s still lagging far behind with others.
Many South African children have experienced sexual, physical or emotional abuse before they turn 18. While reports of child sexual abuse usually engender moral outrage, physical abuse of children goes largely unnoticed, particularly when such abuse occurs in the home and is seen as ‘discipline’. As we approach this year’s Child Protection Week, it is critical to recognise the mounting social and economic costs of physical abuse of children to the country.
"Where fundamental human rights are violated, we as a society need to stand up particularly when the rights violation affects the most vulnerable members of our society." CI's Stefanie Röhrs writes about how violence against children is undermining the realisation of their human rights.