Chil­dren need our protection

In­fant mur­der, abuse rate un­ac­cept­able, writes

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

of an out­rage.

Vi­o­lent acts against chil­dren and aban­don­ment can­not be the new norm. Any harm, abuse or mur­der of chil­dren should have no place in our com­mu­ni­ties.

Adults, specif­i­cally par­ents, must play their role as the pro­tec­tors and re­spon­si­ble cus­to­di­ans of chil­dren. No­body, not even the state, can re­place the role which com­mit­ted and re­spon­si­ble par­ents play in the fam­ily and house­hold. Fam­i­lies are the pri­mary space and first line of de­fence in the chal­lenge of keep­ing our chil­dren safe.

As a de­part­ment we will con­tinue to play our part to pro­vide sup­port to all fam­i­lies in need of sup­port. This is why our spend­ing and ser­vices to chil­dren and fam­i­lies con­tinue to be the largest sin­gle ex­pen­di­ture item on our an­nual bud­get, and this year stands at R651.5 mil­lion.

This al­lows us to sus­tain­ably grow our 1 510 so­cial work pro­fes­sion­als across the prov­ince, and in­creas­ingly build their spe­cial­i­sa­tion in deal­ing with chil­dren and fam­ily mat­ters, as per our coun­try’s pro­gres­sive chil­dren’s leg­is­la­tion.

How­ever even with these on­go­ing ef­forts, the govern­ment can­not do this alone. Par­ents and adults in com­mu­ni­ties must play their part.

I en­cour­age par­ents and adults in com­mu­ni­ties to ed­u­cate them­selves on the warn­ing signs of abuse, which can in­clude bruises, burn marks and hy­per-vig­i­lance. We must fos­ter bet­ter re­la­tions in our homes, and call out pa­tri­ar­chal and sex­ist be­hav­iour.

We must take a stand. We can­not al­low the abuse, vi­o­lence and child killings to con­tinue. There can be no place for child abusers and child mur­der­ers in our so­ci­ety.

Fritz is So­cial De­vel­op­ment MEC, Western Cape.

PIC­TURE: NEIL BAYNES

Pro­tect­ing chil­dren is not just the govern­ment’s job, says the writer.

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