Protecting children from abuse

2017-04-05 06:03
PHOTO: nosipho mkhizeChildline staff at their Durban offices.

PHOTO: nosipho mkhizeChildline staff at their Durban offices.

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THE Childline movement in South Africa was initiated in 1986 with the establishment of Childline KwaZulu-Natal after paediatric staff at Addington Hospital in the province noted with concern the number of children attending clinics or hospitalised with non-accidental injury.

Children disclosed that they had no opportunity to report abuse and identified the need for a call centre.
According to Childline national executive officer Dumisile Nala, in 1988, Childlines in Gauteng, Eastern Cape and Western Cape were established, followed in subsequent years by Childlines Free State, Northwest, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Northern Cape.

“In 2003 it became clear to the then existing provincial offices that a co-ordinating and representative structure was essential on a national level and therefore Childline SA was established in August 2003. Childline is an effective non-profit organisation that works collectively to protect children from all forms of abuse and to create a culture of children’s rights in SA.

“We are committed to supporting and capacitating the provincial affiliates where needed, develop appropriate social services including a 24-hour toll free helpline and supportive therapeutic social services for children who have been victims of violence and their families; education and awareness raising programmes facilitating the prevention of violence against children; establish strategic alliances with the aim of advocating for policy changes that will facilitate good management practices for abused children; research into violence against children within the South African context and ongoing training and development of staff members, volunteers and networking partners,” the organisation said. Childline SA programmes include Crisis Line, which is a toll-free counselling line that deals with queries. The prevention and education programme provides information on children’s rights, child abuse, HIV/Aids and responsible relationship and sexual behaviour. Volunteers and social service professionals are trained by Childline to assist in providing services, while under the supervision, mentoring and monitoring of professional staff.

“The treatment services to abused children and their families programme includes dealing with families of children who are HIV/Aids infected as a result of sexual abuse.

“In the light of the ever growing use of the Internet, and an increase in popularity of online communication particularly by adolescents, Childline SA is keeping up with the times and meeting the young where they are — online.

“Childline SA therefore began a pilot project of online counselling in May 2009 in partnership with MXit as the online service provider.Online counselling and assistance is offered nationally Monday to Saturday from 2 pm to 6 pm. The online counselling service is available to those under the age of 21 years, who are registered on MXit, as well as to adults with concerns about children. Online counsellors are Durban-based and operate from the Childline SA national office.”

For more information call 031 201 2059.

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