National Child Protection Week (CPW) is commemorated in South Africa annually to raise awareness of the rights of children as articulated in the Children’s Act of 2005.
The campaign that began in 1997 also aims to mobilise all sectors of society to ensure the care and protection of children. The campaign is led by the Minister of Social Development; however it is incumbent on all of us to play a role in protecting children and creating a safe and secure environment for them.
Children in South Africa live in a society with a Constitution 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. The aim of child protection is to ensure the safety, well-being, care and protection of children through an integrated multi-disciplinary approach. Despite the best efforts of the South African Government and civil society to protect children from child abuse, neglect and exploitation, many children still remain vulnerable.
Reducing the high levels of violence against children is among South Africa’s most overwhelming tasks. Despite the country’s progressive child protection laws, policies and programmes preventing and addressing violence against children, it remains a major challenge.