Over the Easter holidays, there are often cases of missing children, child abandonment and neglect reported to the Provincial Department of Social Development. This is caused by, among others, children being left alone, and parents abusing substances. In turn, they neglect their duty of care of children.
For this reason, the Minister of Social Development, Albert Fritz, is calling on parents and legal guardians to take the necessary precautions over the Easter break. Above all, Minister Fritz calls on all parents and caregivers to act with the necessary responsibility and discipline to ensure that no child is harmed.
Recent child protection statistics reveal that between April and June 2018, there were 516 cases of neglect and 12 cases of abandonment. In total, 1614 cases were reported requesting child protection during this time.
Minister Fritz said, “If your child has gone missing, please do not wait to report this to the police! The longer you wait, the less likely it is that you will find your child. The first 24 to 48 hours are crucial.”
“As parents and guardians, the duty falls upon you to teach children about their personal safety. Your child must be taught to always keep all entrances and gates closed and locked, and that nobody should enter without permission from either parent. If you have a home security system installed, teach them how to activate and deactivate it, and to use other security devices like panic buttons”, said Minister Fritz.
Minister Fritz further added, “Your children should also have a list of emergency contact numbers saved on their cell phones and available at home near the telephone or on the fridge. These numbers should include the local police station, emergency medical service, the emergency number for your neighbourhood watch, a trusted neighbour, and your private security company. Before visiting public spaces such as shopping malls, your children should know their vital information, including full names, home address and the contact details of one of their parents.”
The Provincial Department of Social Development, under the leadership of Albert Fritz, remains committed to keeping children safe and protected particularly over the Easter break.