Let's keep one another safe this festive season
Although many people are winding down over the next few weeks, the Department of Social Development’s offices will be open during the festive season. There will also be staff on standby at Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) to respond to emergency cases over this period.
“I wish to thank our NPO partners, civil society, the faith-based forums, and active citizens, every single person who has helped to alleviate the pain or plight of the vulnerable. Let us continue doing our part to keep one another safe, especially children. Parents, guardians, and caregivers, please be vigilant and always keep your eye on the little ones, especially in public spaces like malls or beaches. We unfortunately see many cases of abuse, violence and children going missing at this time of the year, so let us practice the spirit of Ubuntu and speak out if we witness any wrongdoing. And if you wish to help a child in need, and have the resources to do so, why not become a safety parent?” says Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez.
A safety parent is a fit and proper person, over the age of 18 years, who takes temporary care of no more than six children, except where the children are siblings.
If you have a passion to help children and are interested in partnering with the Department of Social Development by opening your home to care and safeguard vulnerable children, you can volunteer to become a safety parent.
More information can be found here: https://www.westerncape.gov.za/general-publication/become-safety-parent
NGOs also do their own recruitment for safety parents:
- BADISA head office: 021 957 7130
- ACVV head office: 021 461 7437
- Child Welfare SA: 087 822 1516
- Cape Town Child Welfare: 021 461 7437
What can parents do to keep their children safe?
- Ensure that your child, particularly young children, are supervised at all times. Very young children need constant supervision, as accidents can happen very quickly. Whether it’s near a body of water, out at a park, or inside a house, please always be vigilant.
- Always know where your children are, and who they are with. When leaving children with other adults – whether they are family, friends, neighbours – ask them to inform you if they intend leaving the premises, for example, a trip to the beach.
- Be sure that the people you leave your children with are capable of caring for children, and trustworthy. Also consider the environment and other people the children may be exposed to.
- Ensure that your child knows their own full names, your full names, address, and a contact number. If they are lost, this information can be vital in quickly tracing the parents or caregivers.
- Teach them, in age-appropriate terms, to tell you if anything is wrong, whether it’s children or other adults that have hurt them or made them feel uncomfortable in any way. Enquire about their day, and what activities they took part in, and with whom.
- Take note of the signs of abuse. This may be a change in their behaviour, becoming withdrawn, reverting to bed wetting, strong opposition to visiting certain family members or friends.
Gender Based Violence Command Centre: Call 0800 428 428 or dial *120*786#
Stop Gender Violence helpline: 0800 150 150
SAPS: 08600 10111
Report any abuse of children, women, the elderly, or any other vulnerable person to the Department of Social Development’s toll-free number: 0800 220 250, Department of Social Development email: GBV365DAYS@westerncape.gov.za / SD.CustomerCare@westerncape.gov.za or visit the department’s website: https://www.westerncape.gov.za/dept/social-development
Find out more about our safety services for women and children by sending an SMS with the word INFO to 35 395.
Media Liaison Officer
Office of MEC Sharna Fernandez
Department of Social Development
Tel: 084 775 2975