Facilitated by Department
of Social Development
(Zero Draft)
1.1 Renewing our commitment children *
1.2 Purpose of the Strategic Plan *
1.3 How the Strategic Plan was developed *
1.4 Defining key concepts *
2.1 Extent of the problem *
2.2 Nature of the problem *
2.2.1 Factors associated with child abuse *
2.3 Perpetrators of abuse *
3.1 Legislative and policy framework *
3.2 Programmes of government departments *
Department of Health *
Department of Home Affairs *
3.3 Services provided by NGOs *
4.1 Gaps in knowledge and information *
4.2 Challenges in service delivery *
4.3 Problems in the Criminal Justice System *
4.4 Insufficient attention to preventative measures *
4.5 Co-ordination amongst service providers *
5.1 Vision and Primary Goal *
Priority Areas, Goals and Objectives *
7.1 Cabinet and Cabinet Committees *
7.2 Clusters of Directors-General *
7.3 National Child Protection Committee *
7.4 Provincial Child Protection Committees *
7.5 Local Child Protection Committees *
7.6 MINMEC Structures *
7.7 National Programme of Action Steering Committee *
7.8 Legislatures *


Dr Zola ST Skweyiya (MP)
Minister of Social Development


1.1 Renewing our commitment children

Since 1994, the South African Government has put in place a number of measures to promote and protect the rights of children in the country. Former President Nelson Mandela committed his government to "put children first".

On 16 June 1995, South Africa announced its ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Constitution adopted in 1997 guarantees children social and economic rights, including, (d) the right "to be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation" and (e) "to be protected from exploitative labour practices". The Constitution further states that the "the child’s best interest is of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child".

South Africa also ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child in January 2000. The Charter requires all states to: "….take specific administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment and especially mental or physical injury or abuse, neglect or maltreatment including sexual abuse, while in the care of the parent, legal guardian or school authority or any other person who has the care of the child".

South Africa is signatory to other international protocols governing the protection of children. These include:

Ratification of the Declaration and Agenda for Action emanating from the First World Congress against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in 1996. South Africa confirmed its commitment at the Second World Congress held in Japan in December 2001.

The Government is in the process of acceding to the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, dealing with the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

South Africa signed the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime in 2001.

South Africa has endorsed the International Labour Convention Concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour.

The National Programme of Action for Children in South Africa (NPA) adopted in 1996, provides the overall framework of government for implementing the Government’s commitment to the progressive realisation of children’s rights. The NPA makes provision for "Children in Need of Special Protection Measures", namely, children whose circumstances place their survival, protection and development at risk. These are children who have been abused, neglected and abandoned, street children, children with disabilities, refugee children, immigrant children, children in conflict with the law, children involved in labour, and children exposed to violence.

The Report on the State of South Africa’s Children (2001) reflects uneven progress in the progressive realisation of children’s rights. Children who fall within the ambit of special protection measures of the NPA continue to be at risk. There is mounting concern about the extent and severity of child abuse, especially the sexual abuse of young children in South Africa.

Despite the efforts of government, non-governmental organisations and civil society over the past few years, we have not managed to turn the tide on the abuse of children in South Africa.

Child abuse is a multi-faceted problem, that is, no single factor can explain the causes of abuse. Responding to child abuse therefore requires a multi-sectoral approach, partnerships between government and civil society and co-operation between all spheres of government and between government and civil society. Put simply, preventing child abuse is everybody’s business.

1.2 Purpose of the Strategic Plan

This Strategic Plan is intended to guide the country’s response to the problem of child abuse. The Plan is broad in scope to allow government departments, non-governmental organisations and all those who have an interest in protecting children, to develop their own plans. In this way, the effectiveness and efficiency of our initiatives as a country can be maximised. The aims of the Strategic Plan are to:

Provide a common vision and framework for all roleplayers in preventing child abuse

Provide clarity on roles and responsibilities of all roleplayers in government and non-governmental organisations.

Secure, share and optimise resources

Build and strengthen partnerships between government, civil society, non-governmental organisations and the general public

1.3 How the Strategic Plan was developed

This need was a co-ordinated and integrated response to child abuse was recognised as far back as 1996, when the National Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect (NCCAN) developed a draft National Strategy on Child Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation. The NCCAN comprised all the government departments with responsible for providing services to children, as well the key Non-Governmental Organisations and operated under the auspices of the then Inter-Ministerial Committee on Children and the National Programme of Action. The draft strategy, which was published in 1998, covered critical elements of policy and legislation; prevention strategies; child protection service management; training and capacity building; research and the dissemination of knowledge; and structural provisions for service delivery.

The draft strategy was significant in that, for the first time, the complexities of child abuse were explored in a single, comprehensive document drawn up by government and the non-governmental sector. Although the document was not adopted formally, it informed many of the initiatives implemented since then, and many aspects of the draft strategy remain relevant today.

In May 2001, the Department of Social Development, as the lead department, commenced a process of reviewing the draft strategy, with the view to updating the document for submission and adoption by the NCCAN. The following issues emerged in the course of the review:

The operating environment had changed considerably since 1996 when the draft strategy was first developed. Important amongst these was the introduction of the government clusters, the Integrated Sustainable Rural Development Programme, the Urban Renewal Programme and the Moral Regeneration initiative. Alignment with these initiatives was considered necessary.

Significant policy and legislative reform was already underway and these reforms include:

Report and draft Children’s Bill
Child Justice Bill
Transformation of the Child and Youth Care System

There was a greater awareness of the pervasive social impact of HIV/AIDS, not only on adults, but also on children. The vulnerability of children within the context of HIV/AIDS had to feature more prominently in our response to child abuse. Linked to the issue of HIV/AIDS, is the issue of increasing reports on sexual assault of very young children.

Provision had to be made to reflect on the initiatives implemented since 1996, to determine the appropriateness of these initiatives.

The financial and human resource constraints had to be identified explicitly, with clear proposals for addressing these. Particular attention was needed to respond to the funding crisis facing non-governmental organisations and community-based organisations.
Simpler, more accessible language

The Strategic Plan, using the 1998 Draft Strategy as a basis, seeks to develop further the areas identified above.

1.4 Defining key concepts

There is considerable debate at the international level over the definitions used in the field and South Africa is no exception. Definitions are important in that they affect the reporting of incidents and inform subsequent actions. The following definitions are used in this document as a starting point.



A person below the age of 18 years. This definition is consistent with the Child Care Act, 1983

Child Abuse:


Any non-accidental action or failure to act, which adversely affects the physical, mental or emotional well-being of the child. The abuse can be of a physical, sexual or emotional nature. Non-circumstantial child neglect also is a form of child abuse. The commercial sexual exploitation of children also constitutes abuse.

Physical abuse:


Intentional acts by a person having care of the child, which are likely to result in physical injury.

Sexual abuse:


Any sexual act between a child and a person who is more powerful in terms of age, assertiveness or physical strength. It includes sexual acts, which do not involve direct physical contact, for example, exhibitionism and exposure of children to pornography or their involvement in its production.

Emotional abuse:


A pattern of destructive behaviour involving rejecting, isolating, terrorising, ignoring or corrupting a child, or exposing a child to family violence.

Child neglect:


Failure by those responsible for the child to meet his or her basic physical, emotional, intellectual and social needs. Neglect is a form of abuse where those responsible do have the means to meet the basic needs. Neglect can be circumstantial when those responsible lack the necessary material, practical or intellectual resources to meet the needs of the child.

Commercial sexual exploitation:


The procurement of a child to perform sexual acts for a financial or other reward payable to the child, caregiver, procurer or any other person.

The Strategic Plan focuses on child abuse in all forms. It does however, exclude child labour as this is already being dealt with by the Department of Labour in the Child Labour Action Plan. The commercial sexual exploitation of children is both a form of child labour as well as a form of sexual abuse of children. The nature of the problem and the interventions required suggest that the problem is best dealt with as child abuse. There will, however, be close co-ordination with the Child Labour Intersectoral Group, which is a sub-committee of the NPA.

For the purpose of simplicity, the term "child abuse" is used in this Strategic Plan to denote all forms of abuse and neglect.


2.1 Extent of the problem

The full extent of child abuse in South Africa is not known. There is, however, a general consensus amongst policy makers, practitioners and the general public that child abuse is a serious problem.

The figures of the South African Police Service (SAPS) show a rapid increase in reported cases of crimes against children over the period 1994 to September 2001.

*(Obtain figures and insert table of figures or charts) Action: SAPS

The increase in the number of reports does not necessarily indicate that there is an increase in the incidence of child abuse. International experience suggests that the greater the improvements in the reporting systems, the greater the number of reported cases. (James, 1994: 3). How much of the increase can be apportioned to an increase in incidence and how much can be apportioned to an increased willingness to report can only be determined by further analysis of SAPS data. The limitations of the data do not diminish the significance of the problem. In fact, the SAPS data reflects only the tip of the iceberg as many child abuse cases are dealt with by structures other than the police. Furthermore, the intrafamilial nature of child abuse suggests that many cases go unreported to authorities.

*(Insert updated figures from NGOs and departments on number of cases by category)

In ….the Select Committee on Education and Recreation requested Standing Committees in all Provinces to hold public hearings on abuse in schools. The main findings of the Select Committee were:

(add findings from report )
Action: Stefanie

The question often posed is whether child abuse in South Africa is worse than in other countries. The absence of complete data and the differences in definitions make international comparisons extremely difficult.

2.2 Nature of the problem

It is essential that we understand that child abuse is not unique to South Africa or to developing countries. The issue of child abuse is on the public agenda in many countries. In the United States of America, there were over 1 million confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect in 1993 and of these, 15 percent were confirmed cases of sexual abuse of children. In Australia in 1990/1991, welfare departments received and investigated 49 721 cases of child abuse and neglect. The rate of substantiated abuse and/or children at risk was estimated at 4.9 per 1000 children. Furthermore, 19 percent of substantiated cases were labelled as sexual abuse cases. In the United Kingdom ……
* (to be completed – we need to look at other countries)

It is also essential that we understand that child abuse is not a recent phenomenon. Researchers contend that child abuse, including sexual abuse, has occurred throughout human history and only emerged in professional discourse in the late 1960s. (Tomison: 1995, p1)

There has been little research in South Africa on the issue of child abuse and practitioners and the media inform our knowledge of the subject.

2.2.1 Factors associated with child abuse

No one single factor can explain why child abuse occurs. Child abuse occurs in a wide range of contexts, across social classes and population groups in South Africa. There are factors, which in combination increase the likelihood of child abuse.

Social attitudes towards children

Although children’s rights are enshrined in the Constitution, there is a gap between the recognition of these rights and the daily experiences of children. By and large, children are voiceless and powerless and are dependent on adults to negotiate all their basic needs. Children are not perceived as a distinct social entity, with needs distinct from their families. In extreme cases, children are perceived as possessions over which adults can exert power and authority. Children’s rights are not respected.

Attitudes towards girl child

The hearings/public debates held in the Provinces highlighted a number of practices that violate the rights of children (expand on examples)

Traditional or family courts – decisions not always in the best interests of the child. Compensation paid to families for abuse; marrying off child to the perpetrator; accepting lobola for very young children


In the South African context, there are linkages between child abuse and more specifically child neglect and poverty. Children living in impoverished conditions are more likely to present as victims of abuse and neglect than children from better-off households. This does not however suggest that poverty directly causes child abuse, but that poverty increases the risk of child abuse. In households where there is little or no income, children’s basic needs are unlikely to be met. In extreme cases, children are forced into prostitution by parents or caregivers in order to survive. Conditions associated with poverty, such as inadequate housing and lack of privacy, expose children to abusive behaviour by adults.

Family structure and functioning

The Apartheid era saw the systematic disintegration and dislocation of families in South Africa. In the experience of practitioners, many victims of child abuse come from fractious family backgrounds, as do many offenders in child abuse cases. The absence of the biological father or the absence of positive male role models typifies household structures.

To define a family is a complex concept but can be regarded as follows:

"Individuals who either by contract and/or agreement by descent and/or adoption have psychological/emotional ties with each other and function as a unit in a social and/or economic system not necessarily living together intimately."

Families without support systems do not function due to various challenges, is subjected to the least empowering circumstances and expose their family members to circumstances that are detrimental to their development. The disintegration on family life impacts on the well being of family members and leads to moral decay in families affecting the fibre of society. Family members have a right to family life and to a sound family setting. Families in need should receive comprehensive protection and support from the state and organisations within civil society.

Family support programmes should address the fundamental causes of family disintegration. Conditions such as teenage pregnancy, single parent hood, child headed households causes family members to be more vulnerable. Our family dilemma is not simply one of public economics but it is also one of cultural values and social institution. We need to reiterate the undoubted value of family life so as to promote strong ties amongst family members. All services to families should promote family preservation. We need to go back to our roots to revive African values such as the notion that "Every child is my child" Consequently the traditional communal support systems have by and large been eroded. This has precipitated a spiralling moral decay that now threatens the very fibre of society and needs to be redressed by all South Africans.

The severity of the impact of HIV/Aids is indisputable. The demographic trends derived from population projections that take HIV/AIDS into account affirmed that within a decade South African society would be structured significantly different from what we have known thus far. The poor, women, children and persons with disabilities and older persons represent the most vulnerable sectors of our society and experience the experience the impact of HIV/AIDS most acutely.

Adding to the legacy of disintegrated families is the impact of HIV/AIDS on households. The death of breadwinners, child-headed households
causes that children are more at risk and vulnerable towards exploitation and abuse. (to be completed)

Lack of community support structures

Physical environment

Domestic violence

Substance abuse

Children with special needs
HIV/AIDS, child-headed households, street children

Perpetrators of abuse

Research on convicted child sex offenders has found that a) they often use children to meet demands for emotional intimacy and/or sexual contact because children are easier to control and make fewer demands than adults b0 they have little empathy for their victims, and c) they employ cognitive distortions to deny or avoid seriously considering the harmful consequences of abuse for their victims. Some perpetrators imagine their acts of abuse as harmless pleasuring of a child within the context of an affectionate, caring and/or reciprocal relationship, and insist that they love the children they abuse or that the child invited him or deserved the abuse.

No matter what form the abuse takes, there are important connections to be made between child sexual abuse and the ways in which childhood is socially constructed and imagined. Research has shown that children who are victims of sexual abuse are more likely to be abused by persons they known that by strangers. Within this, children are at greatest risk of sexual abuse by the adults who exercise the most power over them, which is to say their parents, guardians, relatives in a range of setting, including, crèches, schools, colleges, residential homes, churches, sport clubs, homes etc.

For people who self-identify as "paedophiles" will often defend activities aimed at sexually stimulating their victims as somehow helping the child to "discover" and "Realise" his/her nascent sexuality, and argue that "paedophiles" can help children by gently guiding them through the difficult terrain of puberty. (Sex exploiter/2nd world congress/december 2001)

To be completed


3.1 Legislative and policy framework

Child Care Act No 74 of 1983 (as amended)

The Child Care Act is the primary statute for the protection of children. This Act determines the powers of Commissioners of Child Welfare and governs the operation of Children’s Courts. It also provides for official investigation into cases of alleged abuse and neglect. The Act compels health care professionals; social workers; teachers; and managers and staff of children’s homes, places o care and shelters to report suspected ill-treatment of children attended by them.

The Child Care Amended Act No 96 of 1996 makes it a criminal offence for any parent, guardian or any person having custody of a child to ill-treat the child or allow the child to be ill-treated or abandoned. Any person who is legally liable to maintain a child and fails to do so is guilty of an offence.

The Child Care Act is regarded widely as being inadequate in many respects to address the problem of abuse and neglect and focuses narrowly on formal protection procedures.

The Act is to be replaced by new Comprehensive Child Care legislation, which is being prepared by the South African Law Commission. It is envisaged that the legislation will be introduced into Parliament in the second half of 2003.

Prevention of Family Violence Act No 133 of 1993

The Act allows a judge or magistrate to grant an interdict preventing assaults or threats against an applicant or child living with either the applicant or the offender or both. Many difficulties were experienced with the implementation of the Act, which has largely been replaced by the Domestic Violence Act of 1999.

Section 4 of the Family Violence Act provides for the compulsory reporting of child abuse by any person in a position of responsibility for the care or treatment of the child, to a Commissioner of Child Welfare, a social worker or a police officer. This section has not been repealed by the Domestic Violence Act and therefore remains in force. The section runs parallel to the provisions of the Child Care Act, thus creating confusion about reporting of abuse.

Domestic Violence Act

The Act deals with a range of aspects related to domestic relationships, in its widest form in the South African society, and take into account the provisions of the South African Constitution as well as that of International instruments such as the United Nations Conventions on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child. The Act allows a judge or magistrate to grant a protection order preventing assaults or threats against an applicant or a child living with either the applicant or the offender or both. An offender who contravenes such an order may be arrested. This act is thus a basis for removing perpetrators rather than victims.

Sexual Offences Act No. 23 of 1957 (as amended)

The Act covers some specific aspects and forms of child sexual abuse, for example, child prostitution, procurement or abduction of a minor for sexual purposes. The Act is generally considered ineffective in protecting children from sexual abuse. It discriminates unfairly between categories of victims. There is also a contradiction between the age of consent (16 years) and the Child Care Act, which charges caregivers for exposing children under 18 years to sexual activity. The Sexual Offences Act is being revised to address shortcomings.

Film and Publications Act No. 65 of 1996 (as amended)

The Act prohibits the production, possession and distribution of pornographic material depicting children who are younger than sixteen years, and provides for the protection of children from exposure to pornographic material. There is, however concern about the role of the Internet in disseminating vast amounts of pornographic material for use by paedophiles. The Act is being reviewed to make adequate provision for prosecution of cases relating to the Internet.

Common law provisions

Common law covers a wide range of criminal offences including homicide, physical assault, indecent assault, rape and incest and is the basis for prosecution of offences against children as well as adults. The absence of suitable definitions, which address the nature and seriousness of child abuse is recognised as a problem hampering criminal prosecutions, especially in regard to sexual abuse. This issue has been taken up by the South African Law Commission in the review of the Sexual Offences Act.

White Paper for Social Welfare (1997)

The White Paper for Social Welfare was developed in collaboration with an extensive range of consultation to develop an equitable, people-centred, democratic and appropriate social welfare system. The goal off developmental social welfare is a humane, peaceful, just and caring society which will uphold welfare rights, facilitate the meeting of basic human needs, release people's creative energies, help them achieve their aspirations, build human capacity and self reliance and participate fully in all spheres of social, economic and political life.

During the consultations the following critical problems have been identified within the welfare system namely: lack of national consensus; disparities in policies, legislation, programmes; information fragmented and incomplete; fragmentation of the welfare system; participation of stakeholders was not fully exercised and effectively; inappropriate approach in social service delivery; lack of sustainable financing; lack of enabling environment and not effective partnership between civil society and government.

The White Paper for Social Welfare recommended the following for violence and child abuse:
* Government will facilitate appropriate research into needs and problems pertaining to violence and child abuse.
* The development of an inter-sectoral strategy.
* The upgrading and expansion of services.
* The outlawing of corporal punishment in state-run and subsidised services and facilities.
* The development of management protocols for service provision and special training for all role-players to ensure effective and efficient services, appropriate to local conditions and resources.
* The development of support systems for child victims, which will be staffed by trained volunteers.
* The reform of the legal system where necessary to create a child friendly service.
* The protection of child witnesses and the development of bail and sentence procedures that are effective in protecting children and promoting the rehabilitation of offenders.
* The launching of public awareness campaigns and development of advocacy strategies to promote children's rights.

3.2 Programmes of government departments

*(Inputs on the policy and programme framework should be structured in the same way: The following should be covered:
Roles and responsibilities, Policy initiatives, Services, Priorities, Training initiatives, Awareness campaigns and Challenges)

Department of Social Development (national and provincial)


There is a range of services provided by the Department, including trauma counselling, clinical assessment, interim placement of children if required and support in dealing with investigative authorities. The programs include the following:
A 24-hour program providing for social workers to be on call to assist police officers with cases of abuse. The service is fully operational in the Western Cape and the Free State and in one area each in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape.
A Victim Empowerment Program, co-ordinated by the Department, has established 100 projects, many of which are one-stop or 24-hour services for women.
Training has been provided to a range of professionals who work with abused children.
Life skills programmes for children form part of the workload off social workers in the Provincial Departments.
Varied programmes rendered by provinces include the Neighbourhood Programme, Safe houses, awareness raising and educational programmes within communities with special reference to Child Protection Week during end of May each year, the Social Development Month in October and the annual 16 days of Activism against women and children during mid November each year.

The following priorities has been identified for action:
Strengthening the legislative framework and harmonising all laws
Improving the investigation off cases of abuse.
More attention to prevention programmes in communities.
Improving co-ordination of services provided by the various departments and the NGO sector.
Responding to children with special needs.
Building institutional capacity at all levels.
Strengthening governance within the child protection system.
Enhancing information, research, monitoring and evaluation.

Department of Justice
The Department views the protection of the victims of sexual offences as a matter of the great importance. It has thus tasked the South African Law Commission (SALC) to conduct urgent investigations with the view to improve the legal framework relevant to dealing with sexual offences. The Commission subsequently published a discussion paper on sexual offences. The Draft Sexual Offences Bill recommends progressive reform of law relating to sexual offences. The Department also tasked the South African Law Commission to develop comprehensive nev law relating to children accused of crimes (Draft Child Justice Bill). The draft Bill emphasises individual assessment of each child and tries to find alternative ways to deal with children. Diversion options and programmes embody restorative justice principles, which focus on reconciliation and restitution rather than on retribution and punishment.

Minimum sentences
The criminal Law Amendment Act provides for the imposition of minimum sentences in respect of certain serious offences. The SALC has proposed a draft Sentencing Framework Bill, which seeks to address sentencing disparities in a number of ways.

Sexual Offences and Community Affairs Unit (SOCA)
This unit is one of the Operational Units within the National Directorate for Public Prosecutions. It was established in 1999 to focus on violent and indecent offences against women and children, as well as family violence in general. The main priorities of SOCA are to reduce sexual offences, increase the reporting rate, improve the conviction rate, reduce secondary victimisation and reduce the time taken to finalise cases.

Inter Departmental initiatives:
The Department believes that curbing the escalation of violent crimes and rape against women and children requires a common approach by the relevant stakeholders. The National Crime Prevention Strategy (NCPS) has prioritised crimes against women and children. This priority areas consists of a number off interdepartmental programmes, supported by departmental action. They Include:
Intedepartmental Mangement Team led by the SOCA unit on the Anti Rape Strategy.
Domestic Violence Programme. This programme addressed aspects like the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act of 1998, dealing with perpetrators and victims of domestic violence and intersectoral co-operation.
Victim empowerment. This programme aims to improve services to all victims of crime.
Dealing with offenders. A national Inter-sectoral Committee on Child Justice, chaired by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development was specially set up to gather information and make recommendations for specific interventions concerning the situation of children awaiting trial in detention. The Committee monitors children awaiting trial through ……………………….

South African Police Service
The South African Police Service (SAPS) focuses on three aspects in relation to rape and sexual offences namely:

SAPS activities focus on the prevention or reduction of crimes through community and sector policing, situational crime prevention and policing the factors that contribute to crime and violence. The policy documents underlying the preventative work of SAPS is the National Crime Prevention Strategy of 1996 and the White Paper on Safety and Security.
Response and Investigation. The SAPS reaction to crimes like rape and sexual offences includes investigation and gathering evidence for use in prosecution.
Support to victims SAPS considers the need to adopt a victim/centred approach in the criminal justice process as crucial. It thus provides programmes to improve services to victims and support victims through the criminal justice process.

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development is currently finalising a Victims' Charter for South Africa. Following from the Victims' Charter, SAPS is developing a Victim Empowerment Policy and National Instruction.

SAPS are rendering the following programmes namely:

: Crime trend analysis, crime prevention projects with Community Police Forums and crime prevention projects at police stations. The Department emphasised the need to mobilise other partners from all government departments and civil society.
Response and investigation. SAPS are involved in multi-disciplinary programmes aimed at crimes against children. The Department also offers various training courses for members with regard to offences against children.
Support to victims and witnesses. This programme is aimed at, amongst others: training to SAPS members on the matter; improving facilities for victims at police stations; involving the community in practical victim support initiatives and improving feedback to victims.

Implementation of the Domestic Violence Act are undertaken through various ways of intervention such as arrest and protection during the incident, victim support and referral for further support and counselling and discretion to arrest where there is imminent harm. The Act also requires for SAPS to record all incidents of domestic violence in a register, and to report to Parliament every six months on complaints against police officers for non-compliance with the National Instruction on Domestic Violence.

Inter-Departmental Initiatives

The Department stressed the crucial importance of adopting an integrated and multi-sectoral approach to fighting the scourge of rape and sexual violence such as the Anti-rape Strategy; Domestic Violence Programme; Victim Empowerment Programme; Child Abuse and Neglect Programme; Child Justice Programme and the Women Empowerment Programme'

Department of Education

The Department of Education has introduced a number of initiatives to combat sexual abuse in schools, especially against girls.

Life skills for sexual abuse prevention

The first initiative was to introduce the management of sexual abuse in the Life Orientation/Life Skills Learning Area within Curriculum 2005 through developing in learners the skills, knowledge, values and attitudes that are essential for effective and responsible participation in a democratic society. Learners learn and analyse different kinds of relationships that exist between sexes and also evaluate these relationships. They are also enabled to reflect on their behaviours, on those of others and to critically evaluate human rights, values and practices.

Speaking out on sexual abuse

During our work we also realised the difficulty girls find in talking about sexual violence and abuse against themselves. The result of this is a silence on sexual abuse and an inability to quantify the extent of the problem in education institutions. As a first effort aimed at providing learners the opportunity to speak about sexual abuse and related issues, the Department of Education launched in 1998 the Creative Arts Initiative as part of its Culture of Learning and Teaching (COLTS) Campaign. This provided learners with a non-threatening forum to talk about what they experience as barriers to learning and teaching. As a result of the learners' obvious need to speak on this matter, it now focuses purely on safety. High on the list of learners' concerns has been the issue of violence against girls perpetrated by learners and teachers. We have as a result been able to assess the extent of the problem in schools more especially as it pertains to abuse by teachers.

This initiative has, over the past year, been affected by the closure of the former COLTS units which were responsible for it.

Immediate dismissal of teachers for sexual abuse of learners

To address abuse of learners by teachers the Ministry tightened disciplinary measures and sanctions against educators in November 2000. We introduced an amendment to the Employment of Educators Act of 1998 that makes it clear that should a teacher be found guilty of having a sexual relationship with a learner of his/her school, whether with or without the consent of such a learner, the teacher shall be dismissed. Alternatively, where the teacher is involved in a rape or sexual assault of a learner of another school and is found guilty thereof after a fair hearing, such a teacher may be dismissed from his/her post. The intention of the legislation is to make it absolutely clear that a teacher who sexually abuses learners, should not be a teacher and the profession should rid itself of such individuals.

It is also for this reason that the South African Council for Educators Act, 2000 was enacted to ensure that should a teacher be dismissed on the basis of sexual abuse of a learner, he/she will be deregistered as a teacher and may not be appointed by any person, including private providers as a teacher.

Managing sexual abuse in schools

In November 2000 the Department of Education, with the support of the Canadian International Development Agency completed the development of a school-based module on Managing Sexual Harassment and Gender-based Violence. This module was developed with education district officials, teachers and schools in Gauteng, Free State and Mpumalanga, and consists of eight workshops that are intended to raise awareness about the problem of gender-based violence and to provide institution-based policies and programmes to deal with it.

There was an inordinate delay in finalising this work - mainly because of the winding down of CSAEMP and the lack of human capacity in the Gender Equity unit.

The book is currently going for layout and design for distribution to all schools in the system. (A draft copy is hereto attached. The final document will show it is a DoE publication, assisted with support from CIDA.)

Signposts to Safe Schools

The Department of Education and the South African Police Service in 2001 completed a workbook on Signposts for Safe Schools. This workbook is a valuable resource and a reference for actions to be taken by educators, district managers, principals, and school governing bodies as well as members of the community. It is intended to provide schools with strategies to address violence in schools, focusing on improving the impact, authority and efficiency of school management and school services, development of policies, procedures and plans for their implementation, including policies for non-adherence, and strategies to involve, mobilise and capacitate youth in preventative programmes, projects and campaigns.

This workbook will be distributed to all schools and police stations, and the Department of Education will co-ordinate training to accompany its distribution. For the police service, operational directives will be provided with the workbook.

This manual will be out in all schools by the end of the current financial year.

Addressing gender equity in education: a handbook for teachers

In recognition of the part played by the inequality in relations between males and females in engendering sexual violence against women, a 'popular' version on gender equity in education has been prepared for use by teachers in schools. The last section in this handbook is dedicated to the management of sexual violence in schools.

The text and illustrations for the book have been completed. The book is now going for layout and design and will be distributed to all schools for use by teachers with their learners. It is designed for use with learners throughout the system. The distribution of the book will be supported with district-based training and the book should be ready for distribution by April.

Department of Health


Free Health Care Policy

The Department of Health has implemented a free Primary Health Care Policy since its inception (1994). This policy has enhanced accessibility of PHC services to communities and victims of abuse. Abused and neglected children are seen at this first level of contact, offered appropriate care and referred to a secondary and tertiary level institutions. This is done in collaboration with the other relevant stakeholders, e.g. Social Development, Education, and Child Protection Unit (CPU) of the South African Police Services.

Draft Policy Guidelines for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services include the following:

providing a safe and protective external environment
providing information
building skills / human resource development and training
providing counselling services
accessing health care services

Other policies that cater for child protection measures are inter alia the:

Youth and Adolescent Health Policy Guidelines
School Health Services Policy Guidelines

Health Promoting Schools Policy Guidelines
HIV/AIDS Policy Guidelines
National Patient’s Rights Charter

Although these guidelines are at various stages of development, they are aimed at increasing care provider skills, community participation, and life skills education with reference to prevention, care and management of abused children. The consequences of child abuse and neglect mostly include physical injuries, malnutrition, teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections – including HIV/AIDS, are given priority attention in these guidelines. The Department of Health has established collaborative links with relevant NGOs dealing with abuse of children, e.g. National Adolescent Friendly Clinic Initiative (NAFCI), Planned Parenthood Association of South Africa (PPASA), and Women’s Health Project (WHP).

Inter-sectoral collaboration towards the development of protocols on child abuse management and child protection measures

The Department of Health participates in the ongoing inter-sectoral meetings, workshops and relevant strategies towards development of child protection measures.


The Department of Health is currently running pilot programmes on the prevention of child abuse. The main focus is on empowering carers, teachers, children, and community health workers regarding preventive strategies to avoid child abuse. Programmes currently running are as follows:

Training of health care workers in counselling child victims of violence and abuse
Training of teachers and students in knowledge and skills to prevent violence in schools
Training of Mothers/Carers in effective parenting skills
Life Skills Education targeting children / youth in schools.
This includes sexuality education, coping skills, victim empowerment programmes. Sexuality education also elaborates on Sexually Transmitted Infections and HIV/AIDS. Child-to-Child approaches (Peer group education) to disseminate information will reinforce children’s participation in their own well-being, and especially in knowing their rights.
Forensic training programmes are on-going in the various provinces to equip health workers with skills to manage sexually abused children.


The Department of Health participates in the following:

Child Protection Week activities. This is an annual event, inter-sectoral in nature and aims at increasing community awareness regarding child protection measures. The event also highlights the prevention of the abuse through community sensitization regarding child protection measures, thereby preventing any form of abuse and exploitation of children.

National Women’s Day – Celebrate annually towards advocacy of Women’s Rights particularly for the girl-child.

16 Days of Activism on Violence Against Women and children. A series of inter-sectoral activities are engaged to highlight preventive measures and boost community awareness and partnership in uprooting the problems of abuse of women and children.

Review of the Sexual Offences Act. The National Department of Health formed part of the core focus group, organized by the South African Law Commission to review the Sexual Offences Act, with specific reference to prevention of sexual abuse of women and children.

The Domestic Violence Act: Community Awareness Campaigns regarding the contents of this Act empowers women to know their rights.

National Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect. This Committee is led by Social Development and includes relevant government sectors in collaboration with NGOs working with abused and neglected children. The national Department of Health contributed substantially to the process of designing the National Strategy on Child Abuse and Neglect.

Media Campaigns. Soul City is one of the powerful community edutainment strategies that is viewed by millions of people nationally and throughout the Sub-Saharan Africa. On on-going basis the national Department of Health collaborates with the organizers in editing the scripts to enrich the content’s health preventive messages. The latest programme for children "Soul Buddies" specially targeting at children’s health rights was edited by the national Department of Health before the broadcast.


Prioritisation of child abuse within the Department of Health
Recommendation: Directorates dealing with women and children, including those providing support need to prioritise abuse of children and co-ordinate national and provincial plans of action.

Intra-departmental collaboration
Recommendation: Different directorates involved with child abuse should co-ordinate activities to avoid duplication, thereby strengthening the response to issues of child abuse and neglect.

Inter-sectoral collaboration
Recommendation: All government and non-governmental organisations dealing with child abuse should work together through the NPA to correct the present situation where activities are not centralised or co-ordinated.

Collection of statistics
Recommendation: A mechanism needs to be established to provide South Africa with data that will be collated and published, e.g. Stats SA. All relevant departments should participate at National, Provincial and Local levels to uproot the problem through involving every level of care.


Recommendation: In-service education, awareness campaigns, media reports, etc. should reinforce the need for community partnership in the fight against child abuse. For carers, applicable legislation, e.g. the Child Care Act, needs to be interpreted and implemented in the best interest of the child. All sectors must interpret and implement laws regarding child abuse uniformly to curb misinterpretations and secondary abuse to the victims of abuse.


Through the NPA Steering Committee efforts should be integrated to establish formal one-stop centres managed by a multi-disciplinary health team.


Research workers and care providers must initiate and continue both qualitative and quantitative research into abuse of children. Pilot studies should be followed by broader studies to obtain results that are generalizable. The Health Information System, Human Sciences Research Council, Medical Research Council, Health Systems Trust could collaboratively provide Statistics South Africa with data regarding studies conducted in partnership with relevant stakeholders.

There are intervention programmes that assist young people who are victims of sexual exploitation on the prevention of and rehabilitation from drug addiction and sexual exploitation of children. Government must support these initiatives by the NGOs and CBOs.

Department of Home Affairs

The Department of Home Affairs are involved in the combating of Child Pornography. Once a pornographic image is in the public domain, it is likely to be distributed and reproduced, regardless of the fact that the perpetrator has already been caught. There is a strong link between the possession of child pornography and sexual abuse. The incidence of child pornography is increasing. There is a need for an effective, unified international response to child pornography. Special police units dealing with the matter need to be established. Hotlines or tiplines should be set up to allow individuals who have found what they think are illegal materials on the Internet to report it.

The following actions needed to be taken:
There is a need for proper and effective co-ordination at both government and civil society levels.
The expertise and resources of the entire criminal justice be expanded.
It is important that the judiciary system gain a proper understanding of new developments in the distribution of child pornography.
Internet service providers must be brought into the fight against the use of the Internet for the sexual exploitation of children and child pornography.
Public education on the dangers of unsupervised access to the Internet must be prioritised.
The setting up of the "24/7" network, which is required of all countries that have signed the Budapest Cybercrime Convention, must be given priority,

3.3 Services provided by NGOs

*(Suggestion that we look at the roles and responsibilities of NGOs as per the Protocol on the management of child abuse cases and then refer to specific initiatives in the NGO sector - inputs to be given by relevant NGOs – Stefanie to add all NGO partners to list)
National Council on Child and Family Welfare


4.1 Gaps in knowledge and information

The country does not have an adequate picture of the full scope and impact of child abuse, neglect and exploitation, as there is no single national database. Various roleplayers who do maintain statistics, do so primarily for their own use. They do not use common definitions and the different data collection systems make it difficult to compare data.

There is heavy reliance on the information collected by SAPS. The information collected by SAPS only provides information on reported cases of abuse, which due to the nature of the abuse, is likely to be under-reported. Furthermore, we do not know if the increase in the cases reported to SAPS is a reflection of increased willingness to report or an increase in the actual incidence of abuse. SAPS data need to be disaggregated to be of greater use to policy-makers and practitioners. There are no statistics on the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

The National Child Protection Register established in terms of the Child Care Act, will go a long way towards establishing a national database. The Child Protection Register is in the piloting phase. The Register relies on mandatory reporting by health care professionals, social workers, teachers and those providing care in children’s homes, places of care and shelters. The system of mandatory reporting represents a further challenge. (See 4… below)

There is very little research that is of use to policy-makers and practitioners. Current research tends to be narrowly focused and defined by funding imperatives. There are also unresolved methodological, legal and ethical issues is research.

The absence of a single national database and the limited research increase the risk of developing inappropriate programmes, based on anecdotal evidence. The absence of information also makes it difficult to measure the success or failure of programmes.

An effective Child Protection System should be based on accurate, reliable information, but the limitations of information should not be permitted to delay action. The establishment of a national database and a comprehensive research programme should therefore form part of the National Strategy.

4.2 Challenges in service delivery

The complex nature of child abuse and neglect requires an intersectoral and multi-disciplinary response. This presents the major challenge of co-ordination and integration of services to children. Failure to address this challenge increases the risk of exposing children to secondary abuse by the system that is supposed to protect them.

4.2.1 Human resource constraints

Child protection work is labour intensive. Unrealistic caseloads of police, prosecutors, social workers and health care professionals can result in secondary abuse, with children trapped in the system for excessive periods, to their detriment and at high cost to the public.

There has been an increase in police personnel and prosecutors, but the allocation of these to child abuse matters is insufficient (check). The South African Council of Social Service Professionals has expressed concern about the decline in the number of social service professionals. The restructuring of the Public Service currently under negotiation has identified the need to increase health personnel, but no provision has been made to increase the social work personnel.

Psychiatrists and psychologists are among the practitioners whose skills are needed in the assessment and treatment of children and their families. In South Africa, the majority of these are in private practice. It is necessary to increase the number of these professionals available to the broader population, for example, in the community mental health system and in provincial hospitals.

The intervention services provided by the broad range of professionals should not be considered simply as a cost, but also as an investment in prevention. The effective management of cases by these professionals contribute to breaking the cycle of abuse.

4.2.2 Expanding One-stop services

Time is a critical factor in dealing with child abuse and neglect and the establishment of One-Stop Centres can facilitate speedy and effective handling of cases. One-Stop Centres are important from the perspective of the child and the family in that it avoids being sent from pillar to post in the midst of their trauma. There are currently about 100 centres providing assistance to abused children and families. These centres are staffed primarily by volunteers who provide counselling and a referral service. These centres can be expanded to provide a more comprehensive service. In the medium to long term, there should be at least one centre per magisterial district.

4.2.3 Protocols and service standards

Protocols to govern the management of cases of abuse and neglect have been developed and adopted at the provincial level and the protocols for national departments is close to completion. Some provinces have developed protocols at regional and district level. There is still much work to be done to ensure that the protocols can be implemented. An effort must be made to develop local level protocols as this is the level at which interventions are most likely to be effective.

There is a need for national norms and standards for service delivery. The standards of national departments, where such standards exist, need to be reviewed to ensure that they are consistent with good practice.

4.2.4 Extending services to rural areas and other under-serviced areas

The larger welfare organisations dealing with child abuse and neglect operate primarily in the urban and peri-urban areas. (get data from Gail Smith on NPOs and their distribution). Whilst this urban-bias is largely historical, those welfare organisations, which are attempting to extend their services to rural areas face severe resource constraints. There are emerging community-based organisations in rural areas and under-serviced areas, but these require extensive support.

Extending services will require greater support from government to Non-Governmental Organisations and Community-Based Organisations. Agencies such as the National Lotteries and the National Development Agency should be called on to provide financial assistance.

More needs to be done to build partnerships with Faith-Based Organisations, who are well-placed to be involved in prevention campaigns. There are also many volunteers who work in the sector and support for the volunteer movement can go a long way towards extending the reach of the public service.

4.2.5 Need for involvement of local government

The role of local government has not been explored adequately to date. Local government has a critical role to play in the prevention of child abuse and neglect, by creating an overall environment that is safe, health and child-friendly. Child safety issues should be incorporated into the Integrated Development Plans of local authorities. Whilst it is recognised that local authorities have varying capacities, it is essential that steps are taken to involve local government.

4.3 Problems in the Criminal Justice System

4.3.1 Legislation

The inadequacies of the existing legislation have been identified in Section 3 of this document. The process of law reform has been underway for some time and it is expected that the Comprehensive Child Care legislation and the revised Sexual Offences Act will address many of the gaps in the current legislation.

4.3.2 Difficulties experienced with the criminal justice system

The Criminal Procedures Act governs the judicial processes and procedures associated with all crimes including crimes against children. The amended Section 153A of the Criminal Procedures Act has brought about some improvements, including:

The appointment by the court of intermediaries to assist children in giving testimony and in dealing with cross-examination.

Provision for children to give evidence in a separate room with an audio-visual link-up.

Provision for children to give evidence by non-verbal means.

Structural alterations have been made to some courts and special sexual offences courts have been established in some jurisdictions.

These measures however remain largely discretionary and many child witnesses, especially those in rural areas do not benefit from these provisions.

The following problems are still evident in the criminal justice system:

(a) Investigations are disjointed

There are a series of investigators from different disciplines involved in cases. Children are required to repeat their stories to several investigators, reliving the trauma several times.

(b) Delays in the court system

Although efforts are being made to reduce court delays, cases of child abuse require high priority. Delays often result in the collapse of cases because children become confused or submit to pressure from alleged offenders or others and change or retract their accounts of the abuse. Delays are also occasioned by the search for suitable intermediaries.

(c) Bail and sentencing

There is a high degree of dissatisfaction among the general public and children’s service professionals about bail and sentencing procedures for child abuse cases. From their viewpoint, decisions regarding bail and sentencing appear to be inconsistent and not always made in the best interests of the child. Bail provisions have been tightened in respect of rape and indecent assault of children under the age of sixteen years. Furthermore, Section 51 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act No 105 of 1997, requires the court to impose a life sentence on any person found guilty of the rape of a girl under sixteen years, unless there are compelling circumstances mitigating against this.

The general public are not always fully conversant with the circumstances prevailing in each case, hence the allegations of inconsistency in decision or leniency of decisions. It is essential that the general public and social service professionals have confidence in the criminal justice system and for this reason the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development proposes to introduce legislation to ensure consistency in sentencing.

(d) Skills and attitudes of officials

Training has been provided for some but not for all relevant court officials, and as a result, cases are handled without sufficient understanding of the dynamics of child abuse. It is essential that all officials dealing with child abuse cases receive training in responding to and managing cases of child abuse.

(e) Preparation of child witnesses

In addition to the intimidating court environment in which children are required to give testimony, there is often little time spent on preparing children as witnesses. The problem is exacerbated by the high caseloads of prosecutors and the limited supply of intermediaries. Children with disabilities are at a particular disadvantage as most courts do not make provision for sign language.

(d) Lack of effective back-up provision

The courts cannot uphold the rights of children effectively without an adequate range of back-up resources. In cases of abuse where the alleged perpetrator is the breadwinner, prosecution can lead to the destitution of the whole family, including the victim. It may also result in violent retribution if no effective protection is available to the victim and the family. Shelters for abused women and children are limited (there are xxx number throughout the country). The Victim Empowerment Programme provides respite to a relatively small proportion of victims and is in need of expansion.

4.4 Insufficient attention to preventative measures

Enormous pressure and hence emphasis is placed on intervening in case of abuse and neglect, to the detriment of medium to long term prevention measures.


Debate on how much should go to prevention and how much should go to intervention and treatment do not take us far. The quality of intervention and treatment themselves serve as a form of prevention. Ineffective intervention and treatment perpetuates the cycle of abuse and promotes the inter-generational transfer of abuse. The whole system should be geared towards preventing abuse from occurring in the first place and preventing its reoccurrence.)

4.5 Co-ordination amongst service providers

*(To be completed)


5.1 Vision and Primary Goal

The vision derives from the Constitution and the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child.



A safe, secure and caring environment for the children of South Africa

Primary Goal:


To reduce to the incidence of child abuse, neglect and exploitation



The Child Protection System in South Africa should be child-centred and should:

Recognise children as individuals, not only as members of families and communities.

Give primary attention to children’s best interests, as reflected in their needs and experiences.

Provide opportunities for children to be heard in matters affecting them.

Respond to the diversity of children’s cultural backgrounds and of the circumstances in which they find themselves.

Based on partnerships between Government and civil society.

All roleplayers should be accountable for their actions.

Building on strengths rather than focus on pathology

Priority Areas, Goals and Objectives

*(There has to be alignment between the areas mentioned below and the information contained in the table on pages 31 to 40)

Priority Area 1: Children’s Rights and empowerment
Life skills
Internet education
Children’s forum
Child impact statements
Ongoing public campaigns – care for kids, no violence, moral regeneration

Priority Area 2: Safe environment for children
Safe houses
Incorporation into IDPs
Local child protection committees
Safe schools
Safe ECD facilities
Safe computer environment

Priority Area 3: Mitigating the risks
Poverty alleviation - Registration for CSG, maintenance payments
Family support programmes
Child line services
Shelters for women
Disabled children
Alternatives for street children
Child-headed households
Children in institutions
Child offenders

Priority Area 4: Responding effectively to abused children
Joint investigations
Child Protection Register
Prioritising cases in courts
Dismissal of teachers

Priority Area 5: Legal environment
Child care act
Sexual offences act
Film publications act
Internet activities

Priority 6: Institutional capacity and governance
Training at all levels
Financial support to NGOs and CBOs
Numbers of officials
Norms and standards

Priority 7: Research, information and knowledge
National Clearing House
National database
National research programme
Victim surveys


Strategic Goal: Promoting and protecting the rights of children



Targets/Time Frames

Departments and Partners

To provide children with the means to make their views heard

Convene an annual Children’s Consultative Forum


ORC, DSD, all relevant government departments, NGOs, CBOs, FBOs

To provide children with access to information on their rights and obligations

Life skills
Internet education
Child impact statements
Ongoing public campaigns – care for kids, no violence, moral regeneration



To provide children with skills to deal assertively with problem situations

Life skills training in school and in out-of-school situations



To increase children’s access to information and support services

Support to NGOs to upgrade and maintain a national Child Line


DSD, Child Line, Business sector

To educate children about safe use of the Internet




To ensure that children with disabilities are

Life skills programmes adapted to needs of children with disabilities


DSD, Office on Disability, DoE

To promote respect for children and their rights in the general community




Girl child





Strategic Goal: Promoting positive social values



Targets/Time Frames

Departments and Partners

To increase public awareness of children’s rights




To strengthen the social institution of the family

Develop National Policy on Families

Feb 2003


To promote zero tolerance for violence against children













Strategic Goal: Increase levels of safety in the environment for children



Targets/Time Frames

Departments and Partners

To provide a safe school environment for children

Expand Safer Schools Programme



To ensure a safe environment for children in private ECD and day care facilities

Develop guidelines for operation of ECD and day care facilities



To ensure that the external physical environment is safe for children

Roll-out Safe Houses Programme in all Provinces
Provision of after school care facilities
Play spaces for children


Local authorities
Sport and Recreation

To ensure a safe environment for children who use the Internet

Introduce system for monitoring Internet for pornography and paedophile activities




Strategic Goal: Mitigate the risk factors associated with child abuse



Targets/Time Frames

Departments and Partners

To ensure that all eligible caregivers access the Child Support Grant, the Foster Care Grant and Care Dependency Grant

National campaign on registration for social grants


DSD, DoH, DHA and NGOs, CBOs, FBOs

To improve the nutrition and food security of children

National Integrated Food Security Programme:
Effective implementation of Primary School Nutrition Programme
Expansion of food gardens through Poverty Relief Programme


DoH, DoA, DSD, DoE

To reduce the levels of alcohol abuse and substance abuse in communities



Central Drug Authority

To discourage child sex tourism




To reduce the levels of teenage pregnancies

Expansion of DWAF&DoH Reproductive Rights pilot programme
Life skills programme



To strengthen families’ mechanisms for coping with responsibilities

Provide family counselling and support services
Pilot Fragile Families projects



To extend integrated services through multi-disciplinary one-stop centres





Strategic Goal: Improved delivery of services to abused children and their families



Targets/Time Frames

Departments and Partners

To ensure effective investigation and prosecution of crimes against children

Introduce joint investigation teams


National Prosecuting Authority, SAPS

To ensure that child witnesses are prepared

Expansion of intermediary services, including provision of intermediaries who speak the home language of the child



To ensure that court and police environment cater for needs of children with disabilities




To minimise secondary trauma to children in court proceedings

Expand the number of child-friendly courts
Increase the use of alternative forms of giving evidence
Expand number of sexual offences courts



To ensure co-ordination of professionals working with abused children

Implement and monitor protocols for management of child abuse at local, provincial and national levels



To ensure that children have access to safe interim alternative care

Expand shelters for abused women and children



To ensure that all professionals working in the field of child abuse have requisite skills

Training programmes to include:
Forensic interviewing
Reporting and managing child abuse



To ensure that cases of suspected abuse are reported, investigated and monitored

Computerisation of Child Protection Register
Monthly status reports




Strategic Goal:



Targets/Time Frames

Departments and Partners


















Strategic Goal: Reduce the level of recidivism



Targets/Time Frames

Departments and Partners


















Strategic Goal: Provide an appropriate legal environment



Targets/Time Frames

Departments and Partners

To reform the laws governing the protection of children

Introduce new comprehensive Child Care Act
Amend Sexual Offences Act


SA Law Commission, DoJ, DSD

To ensure consistency in sentencing of offenders in cases of crimes against children

Introduce new Sentencing Act



To strengthen laws relating to pornography and the Internet

Amend Films and Publications Act



To ensure that the impact of new policies on children are considered before approval

Introduce Child Impact Statements into Cabinet Memoranda




Strategic Goal: Strengthen institutional capacity and governance in the area of child abuse



Targets/Time Frames

Departments and Partners

To increase the number of officials in the child protection field

Human resource plan



To ensure that officials in the child protection field are skilled to perform their tasks




To ensure the implementation of national and provincial protocols on the management of child abuse cases

Implement and monitor protocols for management of child abuse at local, provincial and national levels



To provide support to NGOs and CBOs working in the area of child abuse

New formula for subsidising NGOs and CBOs based on service delivery



To provide effective regulation of social service professionals in the child protection field

(Liaison with South African Councils for the different professions




Strategic Goal: Enhance information and knowledge of child abuse



Targets/Time Frames

Departments and Partners

To develop a centralised comprehensive information system on child abuse

Established a National data collection system



To provide a mechanism for sharing of information and knowledge amongst policy makers and practitioners

National Clearing House on Child Protection issues



To enhance policies and programmes through structured programme of research



DSD, universities and research institutions

To monitor the incidence of child abuse

Conduct two yearly victim survey


DSD, SAPS, DoJ, DoH, research institutions


The prevention of child abuse requires the active involvement of many role players from all spheres of government, the legislature and civil society. Diagram 1 provides an overview of the structures involved in implementing the National Strategic Plan.

7.1 Cabinet and Cabinet Committees

The Cabinet is the highest political authority in the country and is ultimately responsible for pronouncement on policy and approval of legislation. The issue of child abuse falls within the ambit of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cabinet Committee as well as the Social Sector Cabinet Committee. The Cabinet Committees are responsible for recommending matters to Cabinet.

7.2 Clusters of Directors-General

The Clusters of Directors-General are responsible for providing support to the relevant Cabinet Committees. The two clusters of Directors-General will be responsible for monitoring the implementation of the National Strategic Plan and reporting overall progress to the Cabinet Committees. The clusters have joint sittings to discuss common issues such as social crime prevention and it is envisaged that the issue of child abuse will be discussed at joint sittings. It should be noted that the Departments of Social Development, Justice and Constitutional Development and Correctional Services are members of both clusters.

7.3 National Child Protection Committee

It is proposed that the National Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect (NCCAN) be reconstituted to form the National Child Protection Committee (NCPC). Membership of the NCPC should comprise:

Senior officials from the relevant national departments
Provincial Child Protection Co-ordinators
Representatives from Non-Governmental Organisations, Community-Based Organisations and Faith-Based Organisations working in the area of child abuse
Experts in the area of child abuse

The NCPC will be responsible for:

Co-ordinating the implementation of the National Strategic Plan
Monitoring and reporting progress with implementation to the NPA Steering Committee and the Clusters of Directors-General
Advising the Clusters of Directors-General on issues of policy and programmes
Annual review and updating of the National Strategic Plan

It is proposed that the NCPC be convened by the Department of Social Development who will be responsible for providing a secretariat for the NCPC.

7.4 Provincial Child Protection Committees

Provincial Child Protection Committees (PCPC) are already in operation in all Provinces. A degree of diversity is to be expected amongst the Provinces, but all PCPCs should meet the following common requirements:

Representation of all relevant provincial departments
Representation from civil society organisations
Appropriately resourced secretariat
Convening by Provincial Department of Social Development
Development of a three year implementation plan approved by the Provincial Cabinet following consultation with the NCPC and the NPA at provincial level
Mechanisms in place for monitoring implementation at regional/district and local levels
Regular reporting to the NCPC

7.5 Local Child Protection Committees

Local Child Protection Committees are in place in some provinces. It is proposed that each local authority establishes a local committee over the five-year period.

7.6 MINMEC Structures

Departments with concurrent functions will be expected to report progress to the relevant MINMEC and to advise MINMEC. Directors-General and their provincial counter-parts are responsible for reporting to MINMEC.

7.7 National Programme of Action Steering Committee
The DSD as the department responsible for convening the NCPS should report at the NPASC on the NCPS activities and progress made with the action plan

7.8 Legislatures

The legislatures at national and provincial level play an oversight role through their various committees. All government departments are expected to brief the relevant committees and to respond to requests for information. The committees also have the authority to request briefings from civil society organisations and the general public.

Insert diagram on institutional arrangements