You have a role as child protector

2015-06-16 06:01
Children were attentive and participated in an initiative held by the Mitchell’s Plain police during Child Protection Week.

Children were attentive and participated in an initiative held by the Mitchell’s Plain police during Child Protection Week.

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In the Western Cape, 598 people were reported missing in the past year. 236 of them were children.

As Child Protection Week was recently held, many community organisations took time out to commemorate missing children.

National Child Protection Week was held in the first week of June.

A national government statement explains that the initiative is “commemorated in South Africa annually to raise awareness of the rights of children”.

“The campaign also aims to mobilise all sectors of society to ensure the care and protection of children. The campaign is led by the minister of social development; however, it is incumbent on all of us to play a role in protecting children and creating a safe and secure environment for them,” the statement reads.

Not only does it focus on missing children, the week also raises awareness of children affected by crime, abuse and rape.

Many organisations in Mitchell’s Plain commemorated the initiative through various events and initiatives.

Mitchell’s Plain police spokesperson Lieutenant Ian Williams says the police are calling on communities to keep children safe.

“As the police, we are committed to ensuring the safety of our children. It is important that parents, family members, teachers and community leaders are familiar with the role that they play in exposing any suspected child abuse or exploitation. It’s crucial for all these roleplayers to also educate children on their safety,” he says.

Last week the Community Police Forum also held a vigil and focused its community accountability meeting on the initiative.

In a recent meeting with People’s Post, police cluster commander Major-General Abraham Goss expressed the importance of gaining children’s trust.

“As the police we must show them that it is okay to talk. They can report crime and violence to the police. If they report, we can do something about it,” he said.

Other organisations also held candle ceremonies and observed a moment of silence for lives lost in gang crossfire and victims of rape and abuse.

Judy Oliver, a representative of Missing Children South Africa, says the organisation welcomes the annual initiative.

“Every year we are so grateful for the opportunity to create much-needed awareness during Child Protection Week. For us as an organisation, the importance of this week and month is that we reach a lot of families and members of the public and are able to inform all of them about the reality of children going missing and important topics like human trafficking,” Oliver says

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