It is critical to not only create awareness about crimes threatening the safety of children but also to put pressure on the government and South African Police Service (SAPS) to do more and to do better to protect children. The Western Cape government this month focused on child protection in the run-up to National Child Protection Week at the end of May.
“It is utterly unacceptable that four children were murdered every day this last quarter and more than 7 500 children were the victims of serious assault during the past year,” said Kaylynn Palm, Action Society’s Action Centre coordinator. “More should be done to keep children safe because everyone in South Africa is already aware that it is a problem. Just look at the results of our Police Trust Indicators.”
Action Society’s latest Police Trust Indicator revealed that 97,39% of parents do not feel it is safe for their children to play in a park or ride a bicycle alone. Furthermore, 93% fear that their children may be kidnapped. Only 13,51% of parents teach their children they can trust the police.
In September last year, the body of four-year-old Tamia ‘Mia’ Botha was found dumped in a field between bushes next to a Paarl school’s sports field in the Western Cape. In October, parts of four-year-old Bokgabo Poo’s mutilated body were found in two places in Wattville in Ekurhuleni. And, in January this year, 10-year-old Lihle Zenzile from Mbekwini in the Western Cape was murdered by a relative. The girl’s body was stuffed into a trunk in her house under a bed.
Action Society has been mandated to oversee these cases and assist with private investigations where and when necessary. Unfortunately, in some cases, families do not receive proper feedback from SAPS; in other cases, the justice system simply keeps failing them.
National Child Protection Week takes place between 29 May to 5 June to raise awareness of children’s rights.
“We hope to see actual plans to protect children this year, not just awareness. Children’s rights are being violated daily. We cannot and will not accept such high levels of violence and crime against children,” said Palm. “The Government, SAPS and the justice system have failed the nation’s children in protecting them from harm, and we should hold them accountable.”
To help Action Society in supporting the children and families affected by violence and crime, follow this link.