Social development failing to register child offenders – SAHRC

2013-10-16 16:37

The department of social development is failing to register child offenders, the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has said.

This had emerged in an investigation prompted by a complaint last year, SAHRC spokesperson Isaac Mangena said today.

The complaint had included a consideration of the accuracy of the Child Protection Register over a specific period of time and whether it reflected all the offenders convicted of committing crimes against or involving children, he said.

“Such persons need to be recorded as being unsuitable to work with or have contact with children.”

Under the Children’s Act, the department of social development was obliged to maintain and update the Child Protection Register.

The SAHRC had found court officials were not properly trained to carry out functions necessary to enable the department of social development to fully update the register, said Mangena.

The department of social development was also experiencing severe resource constraints that affected its ability to maintain and implement the register.

“We found that the failure (of the department of social development) to properly implement the Child Protection Register weakened the framework for the protection of children and resulted in a violation of section 28 of the Bill of Rights,” said Mangena.

Section 28 states that every child has the right to be protected from neglect, abuse or degradation.

The department of social development, the department of women, children and people with disabilities, and the justice department were included in the investigation.

Mangena said the SAHRC had recommended the department of social development and justice department provide it with reports detailing their problems implementing the Child Protection Register and how these could be improved.

The department of social development has denied receiving any report from the SAHRC on the matter.

“The department has not been given the report by the SAHRC and is hearing this for the first time from the media,” said department of social development spokesperson Lumka Oliphant.

“We are therefore unable to comment on the findings,” she said.

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