The recent spate of child abductions, attempted child abductions and human trafficking cases have left residents of the Western Cape, as well as the rest of the country concerned. The national Minister of Social Development, Susan Shabangu, has called on delegates from the National Summit on Crime and Violence Prevention – which took place from the 13-14 September – to come up with a solution to curb the rising reports of trafficking and child abduction.
“I will call upon this summit to address this matter. It’s a big concern, especially for parents. It’s a serious crime that’s failing you – human trafficking, with children being the victims,” Shabangu said last Thursday.
She added that police must also come up with a comprehensive and integrated solution to this massive problem, and that this solution should ensure that communities, government and civil society all work together.
“We remain a country which has high rates of violence against women and children. The high levels of violence against women and children in South Africa are alarming. We all know what the crime statistics have revealed,” she said.
Shabangu also said that her department relies heavily on the country’s police to enforce the laws of domestic violence, and that the situation is also made more difficult as many victims do not report incidences of domestic violence.
National government established an inter-ministerial committee to deal with violence against both women and children to respond to violence in South Africa. According to Shabangu, a comprehensive program was developed to prevent acts of violence.
“Subsequent to this a programme of violence against women and children was approved in September 2013. The vision was to eliminate crime against women and children and it was based on three pillar. The first was prevention and protection which focused on transforming people’s lives and practice behavioural change. The second was for a response which focused on immediate intervention such as the command centre on gender violence, which provides a 24-hour telephonic counselling.”
Care and support is the third pillar, and prioritises the safety and long-term empowerment of women and children, while also ensuring that the perpetrator is held accountable
“These are critical matters. As we deal with these particular strategies and policy positions, the critical factor is the involvement of society as a whole, different communities, civil society. The reason I’m saying this is that we can have good policies but if we are not inclusive as a country, we will not be able to combat some of these heinous crimes,” Shabangu said. “The Department of Social Development has a responsibility to implement the socio-ecological model framework prevention which aims to stop violence before it begins. This framework is aligned to the two strategies and it considers individuals, community and societal factors.”