To end violence against children they need to be able to speak about the issues affecting them.
This was the message from Lansdowne based Epilepsy South Africa during their awareness programme in Child Protection Week, marked from May 28 to June 4.
The organisation hosted a talk at The Hague Primary School in Delft on Thursday May 24 where 360 grade 2 and 3 pupils were addressed.
Epilepsy SA social worker, Jaydene Basson, said the aim of the programme was to inform pupils about basic child safety guidelines.
She said if a child’s rights are violated, the child should first tell someone who they trust and if that person does nothing about it, then the child should call an emergency number.
A list of numbers was given to each child.
Ms Basson said bullying at schools was rife and this was how a lot of children experienced a violation of their rights at an early age.
The programme was also held at Noluthando School for the Deaf in Khayelitsha on Tuesday May 29, for 36 pupils.
Social worker Aviwe Ndyokolo said one of the focal points was to equip pupils will the details of organisations who rally for child protection so that they are aware of who they can turn to for help.
“The teachers were also made aware of the organisations such as the police, the Department of Social Development, Child Welfare, and Childline, so that they can assist the pupils to get help if needed,” he said.
Mr Ndyokolo said children who have a disability are often marginalised and there are not many services available to them.
He said it remains important for them to be included in awareness programmes as they have the same rights as everyone else.
Ms Basson said it is important for children to speak out about abuse and being ill-treated and not keep it bottled up.
“It’s important for parents to build up their children’s self-esteem and confidence so that they are comfortable to speak out about issues affecting them. Empower your children because many of them are afraid to speak out. Teach them about stranger danger,” she said.
She said more awareness around child protection must be created and schools need to constantly remind children of their rights.
“This needs to be included in their curriculum because they sometimes forget about their rights. It’s something that needs to be constantly spoken about,” she said.