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‘SPEAK OUT! BREAK THE SILENCE AGAINST CHILD ABUSE

 Matlhatsi Dibakwane 

Leratong Hospital’s Social Work Department recently led an educational campaign to educate the pupils of Onkgopotse Tiro Primary School in Tshepisong about the importance of reporting abuse to trusted individuals and seeking support from other sources if initial concerns are not addressed.

The campaign, which coincided with Child Protection Week, observed from 30 May to 7 June 2024, under the theme “Every Conversation Matters,” aimed to equip the pupils with the knowledge and resources needed to address the serious issues of abuse and exploitation. The initiative involved key stakeholders such as the Gauteng Department of Social Development (DSD), South African Police Service (SAPS), Gauteng Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and the hospital’s crisis centre, highlighting a united effort to address the complex challenges surrounding child protection in the society. 

During engaging sessions, the pupils heard from speakers who discussed various aspects of child protection. Dimpho Yanda, a social worker from the DSD, advocated for every child’s right to be protected from abuse. Yanda explained the different forms of child abuse, including physical abuse, neglect, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse. Her message emphasised the importance of reporting incidents and situations, highlighting the crucial role of disclosure in safeguarding the well-being of children.

“A child cannot have secrets with older people, if something makes you feel uncomfortable report it. And if they don’t believe you move on to the next person. If they start making you comfortable, they are making you accustomed to what they are doing to you and that is grooming. If they say they are going to hurt you, you report them because something bad is already happening to you,” she told the pupils. 

Sybarite Vukela, a Social Worker at Leratong Hospital, led a discussion on bullying, encouraging pupils to seek help from trusted individuals and report instances of bullying to trusted elders or authorities.

Sergeant Olga Monama from the SAPS Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Violence Unit emphasised the importance of reporting uncomfortable experiences to the pupils. She spoke about criminal capacity, where they examine whether a child knows between right or wrong. She highlighted the need for a protective environment for the community’s vulnerable members. 

SOURCED FROM GPG WEBSITE.

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