Child Protection Week: Creatin

Image: Canva

Child Protection Week: Creating a safe space for children in SA

Child Protection Week kicked off on 30 May and will run until 6 June under the theme ‘Let us Protect Children during COVID-19 and Beyond’.

Child Protection Week: Creatin

Image: Canva

National Child Protection Week is commemorated in South Africa every year to raise awareness of the rights of children.

Child Protection Week takes place from 30 May to 6 June 2021 led by the Department of Social Development in partnership with key government departments and civil society organisations rendering child protection services.

Child Protection Week 2021

According to IOL, children made up 35% of the South African population in mid-2018 while a 2020 report from Stats SA suggests that 60% of children are multidimensionally poor. The 2016 Optimus Foundation study conducted among 15- to 17-year-olds also revealed that 40% of these young people had experienced neglect and abuse of various types at some point in their lives.

That’s why the government says that it is in our hands to stop the cycle of neglect, abuse, violence and exploitation of children through initiatives such as the Department of Education’s anti-bullying campaign.

“Children in South Africa live in a society with a donstitution that has the highest regard for their rights and for the equality and dignity of everyone. Protecting children from violence, exploitation and abuse is not only a basic value but also an obligation clearly set out in Article 28 of the South African Constitution.”

What does the future hold?

The non-profit organisation, Girls and Boys Town South Africa, also spoke to IOL about the event which is an annual jolt to the apathy often felt about the plight of the vulnerable.

“As small as it seems, it is within this demographic that the greatest inhumanity is evident,” GBTSA said. “It is cliché to say that children are the future, but if this is their present, what does the future hold for them? Finding the answer may not be as difficult if one considers that we are presently living with the children who were touted to be the future a couple of decades ago.”

In the 63 years since Girls and Boys Town South Africa was established, the children that have walked through their doors have often left their circumstances in shock with the trauma they have experienced.

“Some of our children started their lives out in a plastic bag left in a public space with the parent never returning or were saved from the abusive clutches of elders entrusted with their care. In an effort to help them, the child-care system often shuffles them three to four times before they find a ‘forever’ home. In this period, their perception of the world eventually evolves into mistrust, and they carry with them a sadness that is usually impossible to articulate but involuntarily shows in other ways,” GBTSA said.

Where to get help

The Department of Social Development has a pilot a 24-hour call centre dedicated to provide support and counselling to victims of gender-based violence:

  • The toll-free number to call is 0800 428 428 (0800 GBV GBV) to speak to a social worker for assistance and counselling.
  • Callers can also request a social worker from the Command Centre to contact them by dialling *120*7867# (free) from any cell phone.

You can also get help at:

  • Childline South Africa: 0800 055 555
  • Child Welfare South Africa: 0861 4 CHILD (24453) / 011 452-4110 / e-mail: