Child abuse: you can help
Reading bad news on a daily basis has probably desensitized me to the horrors of crime. Most days, I can read a headline about the latest victim of crime, shudder briefly and then move on.
This story, however, caught me off-guard. A toddler, subjected to abuse all his life, beaten to death by his own mother and her boyfriend.
I was in my car when I heard it on the radio. Just thinking about the tragedy that was that little boy’s life made me cry.
Surely we can’t just sit back and watch as more children are subjected to this kind of abuse? The story of that little boy spurred me into action. I did several internet searches, trying to answer the question: What can I do to help stop child abuse in our country?
South African Police Service
The SAPS web site advises reporting suspected child abuse to the police, the Child Protection Unit, or a social worker at one of your local child and family welfare agencies. Severe abuse should be reported to Lifeline, Childline, or the Child Emergency Line. The site also provides tips on how to spot an abused child.
This page provides a list of Child Protection Units in your area.
Lifeline’s web site provides a list of Lifeline Centres in your area, as well as contact details for Child Line. Alternatively, you can contact them toll-free at 0800 055 555.
The Child Emergency Line can be reached for free at 0800 123 321.
Child Welfare SA provides a hotline for reporting abuse: 0861 4 CHILD (24453)
They also request help in the following areas:
• Donations in cash
• Pro bono Services
• Volunteering your services
Women and Men Against Child Abuse
According to their website, this organization provides "free medical, psychological and follow-up therapy/treatment to children and their non-offending family members/care givers who have been sexually, physically and emotionally abused." They also prepare children for the court procedure, educate learners about abuse prevention, and lobby government departments about child rights in South Africa.
On their web site, they list events that they hold to raise funds to support them in their quest to stop child abuse, as well as a wish list of what they currently need at their various branches around the country.
Local Child Welfare Organisations
Cape Town Child Welfare has recently launched a campaign called "Masakhe Sonke", which means "Let’s build together". It has various levels of involvement with the community to protect children. For instance, deploying volunteers within communities who support families, awareness talks, skills training and development and investigation and placements of children who are at risk. The campaign aims to raise funds of up to R3 million. You can visit their website to download a donation form.
If you’re looking for charities to which to contribute, charitySA.org.za provides lists of South African charities organised by category. This list, for example, is for charities relevant to children and childcare.
Make a difference
"It is extremely difficult to prevent child abuse, but what we do after a child has been abused will determine that child’s future and our own as a society," says the Men and Women Against Child Abuse web site.
None of the suggestions here will help that poor little boy who was in the news , but at least we can try to make a difference in other children’s lives.
Do you know of any other ways that we can help abused children? Share with us below.