Breaking the silence against abuse

2018-04-17 06:01
Marc Hardwick, the founder of the Guardian and inventor of the Anonymous Reporting App.PHOTO: Phindile shozi

Marc Hardwick, the founder of the Guardian and inventor of the Anonymous Reporting App.PHOTO: Phindile shozi

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>>Phindile.Shozi@media24.com

HIGHWAY’S Marc Hardwick started an organisation called The Guardian in 2009 after working as a policeman in the child protection unit for 13 years, with a vision to protect children. He strongly believes every person has an obligation to assist children to enjoy their right to safety. This obligation includes ensuring that, through education, pupils are protected from sexual assault, physical assault, substance abuse, neglect and harm and that their childhood can be filled with joyful memories and not nightmares.

“After working in the Child Protection Unit and Organised Crime against children for many years I saw it fitting to do it privately. It was my Christian calling. I just believe God is calling me to do this work with children to make a difference.”

He said that The Guardian started doing investigations and from that they grew into doing training at schools and they now do drug searches at schools.

“We stay on the forefront of child protection, from both a reactive and proactive perspective. Our workshops and products are based on what we learn in our investigations. As children are placed at risk because of new trends and clever grooming techniques in both the real and cyber world, we pride ourselves in staying as close to these changes as possible and disseminating the information learned as quickly as possible to children, parents and educators.

“If people want us to come in with dogs and do drugs searches, clearances of teachers against the sexual offenders register in the child protection register.” He added: “We do everything that kind of centres around the safe guarding of children and most recent thing that has come to our table is the Anonymous Reporting App.

“Children can now report about a lot of things, abusive, bullying, depression, domestic violence, drugs and alcohol, fighting, harassment, inappropriate behaviour, racism, sexting, sexual assault, money stealing, steroids and they could even put in a suggestion with whatever they are battling with.”

“The pupil will log in on the Guardian App, select what they are reporting on, an explanation will appear regarding what you reporting on then you will write what is being done to you and you select the evidence button the upload it, then done. Then the report goes to the pre-defined person in the school and they can deal with it accordingly but if they need more information, the teacher will communicate with the pupil even though they reported anonymously.”

He said that this app can offer immediate reaction to a problem. “Very often when you interview someone that the child told about the rape, sometimes you find out that the child told this person three or four years ago and they’ve never done anything with it because they are the child’s best friend, so they don’t want to violate the friendship. Then also the child goes to school and tell his friend that his family member abuses them, and they plead that you don’t tell anyone about it. But with the App this can put an end to the silence.”

He said it’s not like the child doesn’t want to tell anyone but they are afraid to expose the truth and which is why they create the App that will allow the friend to report anonymously so that they don’t lose their friendship and also be able to help them. He appealed to the community to break the silence against abuse. For more information contact, marc@theguardian.co.za

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