Brochure to help educators recognise, report child abuse

2019-09-11 06:00
Staff members of the Al-Fidaa Foundation, who assisted in creating and designing the educational brochure to report child abuse. From left are Agnita Langford and Faranaaz Khan.                 Photo:KAILIN DANIELS

Staff members of the Al-Fidaa Foundation, who assisted in creating and designing the educational brochure to report child abuse. From left are Agnita Langford and Faranaaz Khan. Photo:KAILIN DANIELS

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AN educational brochure, aimed at assisting Port Elizabeth educators to report child abuse, was recently launched.

This after the Al-Fidaa Foundation’s White Door Centre found that child abuse and neglect remains one of the big social ills in society.

After much research, the brochure was officially launched at a workshop to empower educators on the subject matter. Experts in the field, which include the Department of Social Development, Department of Justice and child protection organisations, addressed educators.

According to Agnita Langford, a staff member at the Al-Fidaa Foundation, who also assisted with the research, all learning institutions should have a child protection policy in place.

“It is vital for educators to know how best to deal with the disclosure of abuse, procedures for reporting abuse and how to manage an abused learner.

“Dealing with child abuse in the correct manner could determine if the perpetrator is convicted or exonerated,” Langford said.

Langford further explained that educators spend a significant amount of time with children in their care; therefore it is essential for them to recognise when a child is being abused.

“The Children’s Act supersedes all policies and educators have a responsibility to report child abuse and failure to do so, is a crime.

“Public servants have an obligation to recognise when a child is being abused and how best to deal with disclosure, procedures and reporting abuse. This can be overwhelming for majority of public servants and educators,” Langford said.

The Al-Fidaa Foundation’s White Door Centre is a localised victim reception centre located in Korsten, Port Elizabeth. It functions as a short term safe space that victims can access for emotional containment, basic first aid needs, counselling, research and referrals.

Some of the main advice outlined in the brochure is that no investigations, interrogations and examinations should be carried out by the educator at any stage.

The educators are urged to immediately contact the police, seek help from the Department of Social Development or a designated child protection organisation in the event of a child being abused.

Langford added, “We want to roll out the new project to all schools in Port Elizabeth and we hope that the educators will come on board with the initiative. The brochure is there to assist educators and create an environment where learners can feel comfortable reporting abuse.”

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