The Central District Council (CDC) chairperson, Lesego Raditanka on Monday urged councilors and members of the public to break the silence surrounding child abuse and neglect in the country’s largest local authority.
Raditanka also appealed to councillors and law enforcement bodies to improve the protection of children from all forms of abuse and neglect and to bring the perpetrators to justice. He said councilors are mandated to provide psychosocial support, economic empowerment and capacity building for individuals, families, groups and communities to enhance dignity and self-esteem of beneficiaries.
“Unfortunately, central district is currently experiencing increased numbers of child abuse and neglect. As at July 2012, a total of 98 cases were being attended to at various sub-districts,” he revealed. Currently, a total of 422 children are registered as children in need out of which 111 children are placed in various institutions of safety across the country, he said.
Raditanka said abuse strips countless children of their basic rights, their dignity and their childhood, adding that it causes “tremendous psychological wounds and in the times of the pandemic HIV/AIDS, abuse simply can mean homicide.”
In the central administrative district, Raditanka said the extent of child abuse and neglect is hidden because of the sensitivity of the subject, although the information available draws a grim picture of the reality facing many children, especially girls. He said village child protection committees were being undertaken at village level as per the Children’s Act of 2009to try and redress the situation.