Badisa Tygerberg continues to fight against child abuse in spite of the national lockdown.
Child Protection Week is being commemorated between Sunday May 31 and Sunday June 7 under the theme “Let us all Protect Children, During Covid-19 and Beyond”.
Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Rondebosch has cautioned that it has seen a steady flow of children who have been victims of abuse, neglect and violence, even during lockdown.
Badisa social worker Charmaine Germishuys says their staff are mostly working from home but will go out in cases of crises, such as a child in need of rescue.
Ms Germishuys says under the Children’s Act of 2005, a child is considered to be in need of care and protection if they have been abandoned or orphaned and are without any visible means of support. Also, if they have uncontrolled behaviour, live or work on the streets or beg; if they are addicted to a dependence-producing substance and are without any support to obtain treatment for such dependency, or have been exploited or living in circumstances that could seriously harm their physical, mental or social well-being.
Ms Germishuys says they also investigate cases where a child may be at risk if they are returned to the custody of the parent, guardian or care-giver who may harm the child, physically, mentally or their social well-being, or cases where a child is in a state of physical or mental neglect or being maltreated, abused, deliberately neglected or degraded by a parent, care-giver or a family member or someone in control of the child.
When a report of possible child abuse or neglect is made to Badisa, a social worker guides the person through the process to get all the necessary information. “Usually an affidavit is required describing the circumstances of the child at risk if immediate protection is required. The children’s act provides protection of prosecution when someone acts in the interest of a child,” she said.
Social Development MEC Sharna Fernandez said protection of children should not be limited to particular times or campaigns. “As we enter this new week, let’s remember all of our children are in need of protection 365 days of the year, especially amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Ms Fernandez said that with the easing of lockdown and the lifting of the alcohol ban, the public should be extra vigilant of every child’s safety. “The protection and welfare of children are a collective responsibility, even when the child is not your own.”
For further information about Badisa Tygerberg, call 021 939 9120, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.