The COVID-19 pandemic has made many children more vulnerable to abuse. During lockdown, many parents are more stressed than usual, don’t have access to their usual support networks and may have lost their income. This can put children at greater risk of being abused or neglected, or witnessing domestic violence that also has a harmful effect on children.
How can we help to protect children?
- Child protection starts at home. Parenting advice is available on this website.
- Be aware of the children in your neighbourhood, schools and communities. Some children will be more vulnerable to abuse such as those living in overcrowded conditions, children with disabilities and child labourers.
- Offer support to families – share resources and information. M4M has useful helpline numbers and information that can help with coping during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Further free information about COVID-19 can be found at: https://www.end-violence.org/protecting-children-during-covid-19-outbreak.
- Do not judge.
- Be careful and alert with children who have access to the internet. They could be targeted for cyber-bullying and vulnerable to online sexual abuse.
- Tell children about their rights and let them know that they can report adults who mistreat them.
- Report the neglect and abuse of children.
- If you are experiencing domestic violence, you are not alone, you deserve to be safe – seek help.
- Childline SA – 24 hour counselling 0800 55 555
- Child Welfare South Africa – 087 822 1516
- A.C.V.V South Africa – 021 461 7437 / 461 1109 / 461 7447
- Gender-Based Violence Command Centre – 0800 428 428