TAKING CHARGE OF OUR NATIONAL OBLIGATION
Submission to the SA Parliament on the Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children
Submission By Prof. R. September On Behalf Of The Child Protection Programme,
University Of The Western Cape
In the context of post apartheid reconstruction and development, the Child Protection Programme
(CPP) at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) focuses its -work on issues of child protection,
especially issues of child abuse, exploitation and neglect. In this regard, the CPP is known at both
provincial and national levels as a leading national resource for CPS training, service and policy
development. This includes its pioneering work -with the National Committee on Child Abuse and
Neglect (NCCAN) on the development of a draft National Strategy on Child Abuse and Neglect
(NSCAN) as well as multi-disciplinary protocols.
This submission addresses key issues relating to the systemic and institutional capacity of the child
protection system in South Africa.
Although child abuse, in all its forms, is not confined to any social class, it is well-known that
children who grow - up in impoverished conditions are most at risk of being abused, assaulted,
murdered, exploited-sexually and as cheap labour. They are generally excluded from basic
provisioning and affected by or infected with HIV/AIDS. In fact, the majority of these children
are at triple jeopardy- because of the legacy of apartheid with its deep and stubborn roots of
injustice) discrimination and inequity. One wonders if the fact that the majority of children with
whom we work are poor - have anything to do with the perfunctory (low-Status) attention given to
child protection work. Would the system have been better resourced and managed if children who
are abused in well-off families were more visible?
Since the early 1990's several submissions, conferences, reports etc. have drawn attention to the
state of child and family welfare services in general and Child Protective Services (CPS) in
particular. A well-researched and broadly consulted National Strategy on Child Abuse and Neglect
has been circulating since 1996. We still need to see it through the appropriate structures (1996-
2002). Although the NCCAN, comprising of both non governmental organisations and
government representation, with donor funding (The Fuchs Foundation), succeeded in mobilizing provincial child protection workers (NGO and Government) to develop multi-disciplinary
protocols and coordinating structures In all nine provinces, this have had limited effect due to the
frequent changes in government portfolio's and in some cases the lack of formal sanction from key
departments. Many other initiatives such as the training of all sectors (with the support of Radda
Barnen-Sweden Save the Children) made a significant difference in the lives of child victims.
However, it is difficult to sustain this kind of support. Donor funding for this field has become
extremely limited. This situation is complicated by the difficulties around consensus about the role
of government, governance and sustained partnerships with civil society organisations.
The fact is; The CPS system is faced -with many challenges. For example, child protection workers
are struggling to get the balance between protection and poverty eradication right. Answers that
once seemed so clear, is no longer adequate. Old paradigms of child welfare and child protection
policies have radically changed, moving from a reliance on "out of home care" towards models that
supports families directly. There is also an increasing focus on community-based interventions.
Change processes (transformation, including financial, institutional and governance structures
impacted on service delivery systems. For example, the way government and civil society interact,
On the one hand, an admirable consultative approach on policy is sustained on policy
development but on the other hand, we are lagging far behind on clear implementation directives,
institutional capacity and resources to deliver critical services. Very little attention Is paid to the
program and resource implications of these changes- Thus, the support needed to respond
effectively and efficiently to these multiple challenges are often lacking. In the end it is the most
vulnerable, that is worst off, in this case, poor children.
Although we must always recognize the good work that is happening, even celebrate such, the
failure to see the bigger picture (which is not a good one), will continue to place our children even
at greater risk. We just cannot afford to become more complacent. We have problems- and we
must tackle them urgently and seriously.
Two critical factors must be acknowledged with a great deal of openness and honesty (without this,
we will only fool ourselves and sacrifice children);
(i) Accountability, leadership and governance
(ii) Resources (Financial and human)
We must face up to this situation and take responsibility to delivery on this primary obligation as a nation and do what it takes to protect our children-this is not a choice. A proposal for redress is
3.1. CABINET APPROVES AS SOON AS POSSIBLE A NATIONAL BLUEPRINT/POLICY ON CHILD ABUSE, NEGLECT AND EXPLOITATION
The National Strategy on Child Abuse and Neglect specifies structural provision and action Steps at
national, provincial and local levels through which the present child protection system can be
pulled together, properly resourced and enabled to function as a coherent and effective whole,
These measures involve all relevant government departments in partnership with NGO's, the
business sector, research and training institutions and community-based organizations and
groupings e.g. faith based organizations. It is envisaged that the strategy should be managed as an
integral component of the broader child protection measures cluster -within the NPA and have
close links with all NPA and PPA structures, while at the same time being given the special
attention and resources it requires for effective functioning.
The Strategy includes the following components:
Policy and legislation;
Child protective service management;
Training and Capacity development;
Research and dissemination of knowledge,
Structural provision to ensure effective service delivery to children.
The need for proper resourcing and co-ordination of all components of the child protection system
is emphasised throughout. The NSCAN is designed to set up mechanisms and processes at
national, provincial and local levels in terms of-which all of these components will be addressed in a
concerted manner. The aim is to put in place a coherent and effective child protection system,
which is accessible to all children requiring it. This system must be sensitive and appropriate to
regional and local conditions while upholding basic standards throughout, and must include those
involved in child labour, commercial sexual exploitation and special groups of children particularly
vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. These include disabled children, children affected by
HIV/AIDS, children living on the streets and children in out of home placements, who tend at
present to fall outside the reach of the mainstream protective services. It must incorporate preventive programmes that reach the overall population of children and particularly those at special risk. Rural children and those with disabilities are identified as groups that have been particularly marginalized in service provision, and require careful attention by every sector and at every level.
The approval and implementation of the NSCAN will ensure compliance wirh Section 28(1) of the
Constitution, which deals with the right of children 10 protection from abuse, neglect and
exploitation, and in accordance with South Africa's international obligations in terms of the UN
Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), and the World Summit Declaration on the Survival,
Protection and Development of Children. It is similarly relevant to our nation's obligations in
terms of the African Charier on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, which has since been ratified.
The current and new Child Care Act and other legislation provide the necessary legal sanction.
A national blueprint and policy supports government's commitment to the protection of children
in several strategic operations. For example:
The President's State of the Nation Address
The Implementation and Monitoring Strategy of the South Africa's National
Programme of Action (NPA) for Children.
Minister of Social Development's Ten Point Plan
The Strategic Plans of all relevant government departments.
It will also serve as an integrated response to the problems outlined earlier and is
therefore dependent on a high level of collaboration and inter-sectoral implementation.
Such a blueprint must ensure that the appropriate cross cutting issues and linkages are understood
and taken into account. Some of these linkages are the National and Provincial Programs of Action
for Children (NPA, PPA) structures, the national and provincial departmental operations, the
work of the Commission on Social Security, the various poverty elevation /eradication initiatives,
the National Strategy on Crime Prevention, the Victim Empowerment Programme as well as
HIV/Aids programmes and emerging structures.
3.2. IMPLEMENTATION PLAN
Due to the difficulties experienced to secure buy-in and collaboration from all the government
departments during the past years, it is recommended thai Cabinet:
(a) Appoints an Inter-ministflrial Committee to oversee inter- sectoral implementation
structures on national and provincial levels. The latter should include the Director Generals
from all relevant government departments and representation from civil society;
(b) Appropriates a special grant (special national allocation) to ensure, fast crack and facilitate
the first three years of implementation
(c) Mandates all national Departments to collaborate to implement the National Blueprint
(d) Mandates all departments to make provision for the implementation in their strategies and
Medium Term Expenditure Framework Budgets
(e) Mandates the national implementation committee to;
Develop a three-year business, comprehensive integrated financing plan and budget for
each province and an integrated national plan.
Appoint appropriate capacity to drive the process
Commission a comprehensive service audit and costing study and a comprehensive
national plan for the financing of an effective child protective service system in all
provinces in association with other service providers, the corporate sector and donors.
Conducts a feasibility Study on the establishment of a national data base, with a Child
Protection reporting system with linkages to the information systems of other key
departments and provinces
Establish and facilitates the work of inter-sectoral national and provincialchild protective committees and task teams in relation 10 the following:
Policy, legislation, and guidelines
Service management including prevention
Media, advocacy and communication
Research, training and capacity development
Evaluation, monitoring and minimum standards (Quality assurance)
Provides guidelines to support, evaluate and monitor the Provincial Child Protective
Structures in relation to the above issues, and receives and reviews annual provincial
Co-ordinate and facilitate training and research on child abuse, neglect and exploitation.
Manage implementation, monitoring and evaluation through the appropriate
Reports to the Inter-ministerial Committee/Council twice per year.
Make recommendations to Cabinet within the first year of its operation, on an
appropriate, effective and efficient child protective service system.
ADDENDUM; SUMMARY OF THE SITUATIONAL ANALYSIS OF THE PROTOCOL FOR THE
MULTI-DISCIPLINARY MANAGEMENT OF CHILD ABUSE, NEGLECT AND
EXPLOITATION IN THE WESTERN CAPE
The Child Protective System and Child Protective Services as used in this Summary, refers to a
wide range of interventions aimed at child victims of abuse, neglect and exploitation.
The Child Protective System in the Western Cape has traditionally been perceived as a core
function of the Department of Social Services, Post 1994 in the context of transformation processes
in the Department of Welfare, particularly the child and family services, child abuse and neglect
was identified as an area for critical analysis and action. This was confirmed at a meeting held on
16 November 1995 at the University of the Western Cape. Subsequently, a committee named the
Western Cape Provincial Child Protection Committee was established -with Prof. Rose September
as the chairperson. Since then, the Institute for Child and Family Development became the
convenor of most of the activities that led to the current Child Protective Services framework in
In summary these include:
a) The development of the Protocol for the multi-disciplinary management of child abuse and
neglect. The protocol was launched on 6 December 1996 by the Minister of Health and
Welfare (Mr, Ebraihim Rasool) and the National Minister of Justice (Adv. DullahOmar)
b) Training of the personnel working in the Child Protective field
c) Establishment of After Hours services
d) Setting up mechanisms to ensure the sustainability of the process, these include the
Provincial Child Protection Committee
District Child Protection Committees
Local Child Protection Committees
The implementation of the protocols was initially piloted in three districts George, Mitchell's Plain
and Atlantis and evaluated in February 1999. Subsequently, it was implemented throughout the province Up to dale the process relied primarily on funds from the Institute for Child and Family
Development (UWC), the Fuchs Foundation and Rädda Barnen. The Fuchs Foundation funded
the pilot project for 18 months. This included the appointment of one professional Staff member
and a secretary annually at the Institute for Child and Family Development. In addition, a.
university paid Staff member contributed 50% of a workload to the Child Protective program.
At the end of 2000, it became clear thai the scope of work has expanded to such an extent that the
Institute for Child and Family Development could no longer sustain the load under the current
arrangement. A proposal was therefore submitted to the Department of Social Services for the
consideration of funding for staff to carry this work forward. At a meeting between the Institute
for Child &; Family Development, University of the Western Cape and the Department of Social
Services, it was decided to appoint a Provincial Manager.
The main task of the Provincial Manager was to assist with the process of conducting an audit of
the current Status of the Child Protective Services in order to provide an overview of what has been
achieved, what the gaps are and to make recommendations for a more sustainable Child Protective
System for the Province. In addition, the Provincial Manager had to support the District Child
Protection Committees and their work. The Provincial Manager was appointed for 12 months, 1
February 2001 - 31 January 2002, and [his report was the outcome of a broad consultation process
that collectively provides an overview of the status of the Child Protective Services in the "Western
The report was informed by the:
Consultative discussions with Provincial Child Protection Committee and other
stakeholders, e.g. other departments and non governmental organisations
The After Hours Service Board meetings and a workshop.
District Child Protection Committees including the completion of a Situational Analysis
Document Analysis, including Provincial Child Protection Committee minutes and
2. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The primary motivation for this report wa$ to examine the status of the protocol for the multi-
disciplinary management of child abuse and neglect in the "Western Cape. The multi-disciplinary
management of child abuse and neglect takes place within the broad framework of the proposed
National Strategy on Child Abuse and Neglect and the status was thus measured against the recommendations in the Strategy.
During the consultative discussions held with the representatives from the District Child
Protection Committees the commitment of the representatives to the multi-disciplinary
management of child abuse and neglect was evident. It was however also clear that a general feeling
prevails that the support from management in government departments, as well as the management
of private welfare organisations are not always experienced by child protective service workers.
The Provincial Child Protection Committee consisting of representation from both
government and non-governmental organisations was established in 1995. It still constitutes
the most representative child protection structure in the province and meets quarterly. It
reports directly to the Department of Social Development and to the Provincial Plan of Action
District Child Protection Committees were established in ten districts in the Province.
Although the all the districts do not have a district structure yet, it operates on local level. In
these cases, Local Child Protection Committees were established and are functional in 60 local
It was evident that the establishment of Local Child Protection Committees is essential to
ensure the protection of children from abuse and neglect closest to their homes. The Local
Child Protection Committees are important structures to ensure effective implementation of
Neighbourhood Responses to Child Protection and since September 2001, fourteen
Neighbourhood Child Protection Committees were established in the Province.
b) Human Resources
The current arrangements regarding human resources are as follows:
i) Provincial level:
Provincial Coordinator: Children, Department of Social Services. This person inthis position is also responsible for the Provincial Plan of Action for Children as well as
ii) District level:
District Coordinators: These posts are filled by Social Workers in the Department of
Social Services. Some of them hold supervisor level positions (child and family care
section) -while Others are either intake or field workers not assigned full time to child
iii) Local level:
Local Coordinators: The fieldworker responsible for services in a specific area takes
responsibility for the coordination of Local Child Protection activities.
Neighbourhood Coordinators: These coordinators are community members,
functioning as volunteers and coordinating Neighbourhood Child Protection
Committees. c) Service Delivery and prevention
There exist an urgent need to develop minimum standards and guidelines for child protective
services management and intervention. The Standards are currently diverse and workers
function without the necessary guidelines and often without experience.
There are after hour services available in 14 districts in the province.
There are currently no protocols in place dealing with commercial sexual exploitation, children in early childhood development programs, children's homes, child labour, children living on
the Streets, children affected/infected with HIV/Aids or children with disabilities.
Community awareness to prevent child abuse and neglect is mostly narrowed down to Child
Protection Week. There is a need for continuous efforts 10 raise awareness in communities. d) Training
The consultative discussions confirmed the pressing need for Child Protective Services training
in the province. The personnel turnover in all departments and private welfare organisations
necessitates constant training. New volunteers are recruited on a continuous basis as safe house
parents or child protective workers at the after hours services and need training on an. ongoing
A limitation is the fact that there is no ongoing resource allocation for the required training in
the child protective field,
Child Protective Services Program
Faculty of Community Health Sciences
University of the Western Cape Tel: (021) 9592602 Fax: (021) 9592606