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.
Fieldwork is not an easy practice but conducting it in high crime communities is a daunting task. This piece discusses the challenges faced during a longitudinal survey attempt that took place in Gugulethu; and how researchers attempted to handle these challenges.
Several youth from Alexandra township, who work as part of the Alex FM youth reporters network in partnership with Gun Free South Africa and the Children’s Radio Foundation, decided that this year’s youth day commemoration on June 16th would be dedicated to making their community a safer place by organising a peaceful walk to the police station to hand over a petition.
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.
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 Inclusive Violence and Crime Prevention Programme (VCP) of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and its partners trained over 120 young people as youth leaders and ambassadors of safer communities in two provinces, Gauteng and Eastern Cape. The purpose of this training is capacity-building of young leaders who can then contribute to the building of safer communities and to reducing crime and violence, which is on the rise in South African communities.
The Seven Passes Initiative shows how supporting children with schoolwork creates a better society.
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!”.
The key to stemming the tide of child and youth victimisation is bearing in mind the complete inventory of victimisations that may co-occur during childhood. This will ensure that the diverse array of underlying causes of child victimisation will be addressed, rather than merely addressing the symptoms.