Child maltreatment prevention readiness in South Africa
Date :24 May 2012
Time :12:30 - 13:30
Increasingly, research identifies child abuse and neglect by parents and caregivers as a social and public health problem. The consequences include injury, risky sexual behaviour, adolescent pregnancy, chronic diseases, mental illness, suicide and homicide. Child maltreatment (CM) also has far-reaching consequences for human capital development and social cohesion. However, in different countries, interventions for child maltreatment have historically been primarily reactive and focused on treatment and statutory interventions which include the removal of children into alternative care. Such interventions are costly, have limited impact and promote the perception that CM is inevitable and may not be prevented.
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In the developed countries there is growing knowledge that CM is preventable through evidence-based programmes while low-and-middle-income countries are still to benefit from this knowledge. In South Africa, the Children’s Act emphasises the need to introduce prevention programmes for safeguarding child and family wellbeing. However, there are information gaps in relation to practitioners’ and policy-makers’ attitudes towards prevention, and knowledge about strategies and programmes that can reduce the risk of child maltreatment in the home. The country, provinces and communities need tools that can help them assess their state of readiness to implement evidence-based prevention programmes.
The seminar presents findings from a study that developed and applied a multi-dimensional model of child maltreatment prevention readiness at national level and in one province in South Africa.
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