28 May to 4 June 2017
National Child Protection Week is marked annually to raise awareness for the rights of children. It aims to mobilise all sectors of society to care for and protect children. Child Protection Week allows us to shine a spotlight on children’s issues; highlight successes and identify what still needs to be done.
The campaign is led by the Minister of Social Development; however it is incumbent on all of South Africans to play a role in protecting children and creating a safe and secure environment for them.
The Bill of Rights in the Constitution specifically states that every child has the right to be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation. South Africa has also drafted legislation to protect children which is based on the United Convention of the Rights of the Child, and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.
Protections are further reinforced through the Children’s Act, which emphasises the State’s role in the provision of social services to strengthen the capacity of families and communities to care for and protect children.
The Child Justice Act (Act No. 75 of 2008) establishes a separate criminal justice system for children in conflict with the law. The Sexual Offences and Related Matters Amendment Act (Act No. 32 of 2007) includes a wide range of crimes that commonly occur against children.
While the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act (Act 7 of 2013), deals with the global phenomena of child trafficking.
However, despite these and other protections many children still remain vulnerable to abuse, neglect and exploitation.
As a society we have a duty to do more to ensure that the most vulnerable in our society do not suffer abuse. It is in our hands to stop the cycle of neglect, abuse, violence and exploitation of children. By working together we can create safer and healthier communities so that our children can thrive.
Government calls on all South Africans to support Child Protection Week by wearing a green ribbon.
The week will be launched on 28 May 2017 in Langa, Cape Town, Western Cape and closed on 4 June 2017 in Lusikisiki, OR Tambo District in Eastern Cape under the theme: “Let us all protect children to move South Africa forward”.