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The fight against child abuse in the Western Cape was boosted this week, with the formation of the Child Protection Collaborative (CPC), on Tuesday, 12 September.

The formation of the CPC follows an event hosted by the Community Chest of the Western Cape in June, at which NGOs and civil society groups met to discuss a solution to the problem. The CPC’s main aim is to address the shocking rate of child murders perpetuated in the Western Cape.

While violence against women and children is endemic in South Africa, the collaborative will focus on the issue of child murders.

It seeks to bring entities together to build greater cohesion and synergy in communities to strengthen child protection programmes. It will also advocate for the whole child protection system, which is clearly in disarray, to be re-evaluated and overhauled for efficacy, and efficiency.

“When the CPC met on Tuesday this week, we began by acknowledging that we all shared responsibility in the failure to protect our children. This has led to the loss of over 60 young lives since the beginning of 2017,” said Joan Daries, project manager at the Community Chest.

As part of its mandate to address violence against children, the CPC presented its draft charter to an assembly of NGOs and stakeholders in the child protection and social development sectors.

The charter specified the CPC’s intention to form a united front in the prevention of violence against children by:
• disseminating vital information on the problem to inform intelligent, effective prevention strategies; and
• lobbying government for the development and implementation of more effective policies and legislation
• creating awareness within communities to foster innovative, effective community based child protection services.

“The CPC supports the call for the establishment of a Commission of Enquiry into the child murders in the Western Cape. Children, families and communities are severely traumatised by the increasing levels of violence, which is their lived reality. The trauma is exacerbated when no-one is willing to listen to their heart wrenching stories and unbearable pain they are suffering” said Daries.

“It is essential to acknowledge that human rights atrocities have occurred. We must find a way to force the government to be held accountable for its failure to uphold the human rights of our children.”

Daries believes the final report, stemming from the commission once it is established, would be essential to guide collective action by the government and civil society against the issue of violence against children.

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