W Cape launches child protection hotline

Staff Writer | Aug 03, 2019
Western Cape social development minister Sharna Fernandez said abuse of children by some parents and caregivers ‘is alarming’.

The newly launched Child Protection SMS hotline was intended to ‘add another layer of the safety net in protecting children’, Fernandez said.

The hotline has been launched as part of the provincial department of social development’s Child Care and Protection programme, which aims to ‘safeguard and promote well-being and build resilience of families and communities to care for and protect their children’.

The department said: ‘As citizens, we are all responsible for the well-being of every child in our community. So, if you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, it is everyone’s duty to report it. The SMS line is one way citizens can do so.’

Said Fernandez: ‘I truly do believe that there is a way forward for South Africa to ensure the protection of our children.

‘All of us are fully aware that our children also learn from watching the adults around them. Children who witness domestic violence are more likely to become neglectful or abusive parents. The World Health Organisation (WHO) highlights that it is vital to intervene early to break the intergenerational cycle of violence and abuse that keeps strangling our communities.’

She said the ‘protection of children, a key priority area for the Department of Social Development, is something that must be driven all year round and requires action from the whole of society. All of us need to be doing far more to prevent cases of child abuse, neglect and murders.’

The department had ‘made it easier to report child abuse and neglect with an SMS number. Simply SMS the word “help” to 31022 and we will call you back (a standard rate of 50c per SMS applies)’.


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