Press Release: Death of a Chatsworth Toddler

Childline South Africa is deeply distressed by the death of the child in the Chatsworth area. The fact that this child suffered physical and Sexual abuse to a fatal extent is a sad indictment on our society.

We are presently observing the 16 days of Activism of No Violence Against Women and Children. Despite 16 years of this national campaign we, at Childline, receive on a daily basis distressing reports of the most appalling abuse of children — physical, psychological and sexual. Our helpline receives over a million calls per year, a substantial number of which relate to all forms of violence against children.

At all provincial Childline offices, calls are entered into a data collection system, and all children requiring services are then referred to the nearest child protection service provider. All referrals are followed up and files are closed only when that service provider reports back to Childline. Regarding the case of the above mentioned child, Childline KwaZwalu-Natal can find no record of a report to them in relation to the child’s circumstances. In the instance it appears that Childline may have been confused with Chatsworth Child and Family Welfare Society who were providing ongoing services to this child and family, as the child was in foster care.

The Children’s Act 38 of 2005 provides for a comprehensive framework aimed to protect children who have been found in need of care and protection, including for children to be placed in foster care and be monitored by social workers. Systematic challenges such as the shortages of social workers to follow up on foster care placements might lead to situations were abuses go undetected as may have been the case in this tragic case. Despite these challenges, we appeal to the public to report cases of child abuse, neglect and exploitation to Childline (08000 55555) or to their nearest police station or child welfare. Please when you report, keep a note of the date, time and who you report to, to enable follow up if service does not appear to follow the report. It is our responsibility as a society to create a safe environment for our children 365 days of the Year.
Dumisille Nala, National Executive Officer
Childline SA National Office (031 201 0669)