Pretoria – An advisory council is being established to strengthen and coordinate the implementation of the 365 National Plan of Action to end Violence against Women and Children, says Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana.
Xingwana said the Advisory Council on Violence against Women and Children, comprising key government departments, civil society organisations and other relevant partners, will ensure that the initiatives are coordinated within a multi-sectoral response to reverse the tide of violence against women and children.
She said one of the greatest challenges currently facing South Africa was the scourge of violence against children, calling for people responsible for such crimes to face the full might of the law.
“We have too many children being attacked, raped and killed. The annual SAPS crime statistics indicate increases in cases of attempted murder, murder and sexual offences against children between 2008/09 and 2009/10 financial years.
“Attempted murder against children increased from 782 to 1 113 and murder from 843 to 965 and most of the crimes have been committed against children between ages of 15 and 17 years, but we are equally concerned that children between 0 and 10 years are also affected by these crimes,” said Xingwana.
Reiterating her call to courts not to grant bail to people charged with rape and murder of children, as these suspects often go out and commit more crimes, Xingwana said the extent of violence against children requires the country to take extra measures to address this scourge in the same way it dealt with HIV and Aids.
On Monday, Xingwana joined Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini and Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula as well as NGOs, at the launch of Child Protection Week at the Abraham Kriel Childcare centre in Johannesburg.
Xingwana said the theme for Child Protection Week, Working together to protect children, is based on the view of government that protection of children and creating a safe and secure environment is the responsibility of each and every one of us.
As part of the week’s activities, the department will on 4 June visit Kimberly to look at the challenges facing children in child-headed households.
“We want to ensure that these children access the various services that government has made available for children including free education, social support through child support or foster care grants and various health programmes essential for survival of children,” Xingwana said.
Child Protection Week also covers the International Children’s Day and the Day of the African Child, which will be observed in KwaMhlanga, Mpumalanga, on 1 June. – BuaNews