Every child has a right to education, best attainable standards of health, and protection from abuse, torture and labour which interfere with the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral, or social development. However, Covid-19 has had an adverse effect on the rights and welfare of children in Africa. For many children who now stay at home, other impending risks include harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM) and being forced into early (child) marriage. Domestic and sexual violence also continue to be a significant concern.
As we celebrate 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, it is important to acknowledge that entrenched gender norms in South Africa create an environment in which gender-based violence is acceptable, and even worse, normalised. They inhibit effective implementation of laws intended to address violence against women and girls. It is therefore ever more important to engage adolescent boys and young men in the promotion of gender-equitable attitudes and norms, and influence their behaviours positively.
South African society is becoming more, not less, violent. This was confirmed by the 2017/18 crime statistics released by the South African Police Service (SAPS) yesterday. Violence affects all South Africans, with the greatest impact on people who are black and poor. Young black men have the highest chance of being murdered. But violence against children and women is at the root of this problem. The effects on individuals are long term – children who grow up in violent households are more likely to use or become victims of violence later in life.
Police, on Tuesday 11 September, reported the killing of women increased 11% in the year to end March 2018, with 20% more boys (under 18 years) murdered compared to the previous 12 months.
The Ulutsha Street Festival 2018 turned out to be an ideal family event on a typical windy winter day in Port Elizabeth. This year’s Festival once again highlighted how public spaces can be transformed into positive spaces for recreation and social interaction. Further, the Festival demonstrated how festivals can be used as both recreational opportunities as well as opportunities to raise awareness on key social issues, such as gender-based violence and violence against children.
The Seven Passes Initiative shows how supporting children with schoolwork creates a better society.
All children are vulnerable to violence, yet wealthy countries lag behind in global efforts to solve it.
With the support of UMHLALI, an early crime prevention project implemented by the CJCP and Masifunde Learner Development; as well as the GIZ’s Violence and Crime Prevention Project (VCP); the ULUTSHA street festival took place on Youth Day (June 16, 2017) under the slogan “Report cases of violence against women and children!”.
Due to its multi-faceted nature, the elimination of violence in schools calls for the engagement of all members of the school community. The whole school approach to violence prevention attempts to achieve this, addressing school violence as a collective rather than individual challenge and involving the school community, parents, organisations and the local community
What is needed for South Africa, and other countries with high rates of violence and limited resources, is a brief parenting intervention that can be delivered relatively inexpensively by lay personnel, that simultaneously targets the risk factors for child aggression shown. One intervention that may satisfy these requirements is training carers in ‘dialogic’ book-sharing.