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National Child Protection Week (CPW) is commemorated in South Africa annually to raise awareness of the rights of children as articulated in the Children’s Act of 2005.The campaign began in 1997 aims to mobilise all sectors of society to ensure the care and protection of children. The campaign is led by the Minister of Social Development.

 Child Protection Week allows us to shine a spotlight on children’s issues; highlight successes and identify what still needs to be done.

The Child Justice Act (Act No. 75 of 2008) establishes a separate criminal justice system for children in conflict with the law. The Sexual Offences and Related Matters Amendment Act (Act No. 32 of 2007) includes a wide range of crimes that commonly occur against children.While the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act (Act 7 of 2013), deals with the global phenomena of child trafficking.However, despite these and other protections many children still remain vulnerable to abuse, neglect and exploitation.

On the 28th of May 2018, CINDI celebrated Child Protection Week with members, and colleagues from Human Rights Commission and Legal Aid South Africa.Very often media including TV,radio and newspapers cover stories about children who are abused, abducted and even murdered, usually by strangers but it is important to know sexual abusers are more likely to be people known to the child.It is our responsibility as a parent to educate our children about safety.

People who want to abuse children often build a relationship with the child and the caring adults who want to protect them.Abusers use a number of tactics to ensure their victim's silence. Giving gifts, encouraging a child to keep secrets, blackmail, coercion and flattery are common tactics.

A child might be too scared to report that s/he was sexually abused. S/he might think that nobody will believe him/her because there is no-one else who saw what had happened to him/her or that s/he took too long to report the sexual abuse. However, this is not always the case and the protection of a child is a serious matter in court.

As a society we have a duty to do more to ensure that the most vulnerable in our society do not suffer abuse. It is in our hands to stop the cycle of neglect, abuse, violence and exploitation of children. By working together, we can create safer and healthier communities so that our children can thrive.

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