Minister Fernandez launches Child Protection SMS Hotline #31022
The Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez, visited the SA Children’s Home as part of the ongoing Child Protection campaign run by DSD. With a strong focus on children’s rights, an SMS hotline has been launched, where people can report cases of child abuse or neglect.
The launch of this new Child Protection SMS Hotline #31022 aims to add another layer of the safety net in protecting children.
As citizens, we are all responsible for the well-being of every child in our community. So, if you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, it is everyone’s duty to report it. The SMS line is one way citizens can do so.
It is mandatory for professionals such as teachers, nurses, doctors, therapists, and social workers to report any suspected child abuse (in terms of the Child Protection Act).
“I truly do believe that there is a way forward for South Africa to ensure the protection of our children,” says Fernandez.
DSD has grown from 1 head office and 16 district offices in 2009, to 45 local offices and various service points or satellite offices in 2018. This increased the Department’s reach by 176% between over the last 10 years, bringing services closer to vulnerable and abused children.
The Department’s Child Care and Protection Programme, which aims to safeguard and promote child well-being and build resilience of families and communities to care for and protect their children.
The Services offered by the Department amongst others include:
Public Education and prevention programmes, targeting children; parents; families and communities, with more focus on parental responsibilities and rights.
A range of programmes and services for children with risky behaviours e.g. safety and risk assessment services; therapeutic and psycho social services, temporary safe care programmes; adolescent development; programmes for children with behavioural, psychological and emotional challenges, transitional care and support programmes for children about to exit alternative care; programmes for children that live and beg on the streets.
Statutory services - e.g. foster care programme, adoption programme.
Programmes aimed at reunifying children, that had been placed in alternative placements, with their families or communities of origin.
“All of us are fully aware that our children also learn from watching the adults around them. Children who witness domestic violence are more likely to become neglectful or abusive parents, says Fernandez.” The World Health Organisation (WHO) highlights that it is vital to intervene early to break the intergenerational cycle of violence and abuse that keeps strangling our communities,”
Moreover, “the protection of children, a key priority area for the Department of Social Development, is something that must be driven all year round and requires action from the whole of society. All of us need to be doing far more to prevent cases of child abuse, neglect and murders,”
“We’ve now made it easier to report child abuse and neglect with an SMS number, Simply SMS the word ‘help’ to 31022 and we will call you back (a standard rate of 50cc per SMS applies).”
Should you suspect any incidences of child abuse, you may also report it by contacting:
· Western Cape Department of Social Development: 0800 220 250
· Email: SD.CustomerCare@westerncape.gov.za
· Police: 10111
· Childline: 0861 322 322
· Child Welfare SA: 0861 424 453