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National Child Protection Week 2023

National Child Protection Week 2023

Child Protection Week is from 28 May to 4 June 2023 in South Africa.

We all play a vital role in creating a safe and secure environment for ALL our children – and it is EVERY citizen’s duty to protect them from violence, exploitation and abuse. It is not just a basic value, but also an obligation clearly set out in Article 28 of the South African Constitution.

What is Child Maltreatment

Sexual Abuse. Physical Abuse. Emotional Abuse. Neglect. Exploitation.

Child maltreatment refers to various types of violence that are perpetrated against children. The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines child maltreatment as: “All forms of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or commercial or other exploitation, resulting in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power.”

Visit for a comprehensive article on child maltreatment in South Africa.

Signs of Child Abuse or Maltreatment

Child abuse can take many different forms, here are some things to look out for to help identify the signs of child abuse or maltreatment:

  • Signs of physical abuse
    • Unexplained burns, cuts, bruises, or welts in the shape of an object.
    • Bite marks.
    • Anti-social behaviour.
    • Problems in school.
    • Fear of adults.
    • Suicide attempts.
  • Signs of emotional abuse
    • Apathy.
    • Depression.
    • Hostility or stress.
    • Lack of concentration.
    • Eating disorders.
    • Headaches, nausea, abdominal pains.
    • Suicide attempts.
  • Signs of sexual abuse
    • Inappropriate interest or knowledge of sexual acts or knowledge of sexual terminology for child’s age.
    • Nightmares and bed wetting.
    • Drastic changes in appetite.
    • Overcompliance or excessive aggression.
    • Fear of a particular person or family member.
    • Depression and suicide attempts.
    • Self-mutilating behaviour (self-inflicted cuts, sores and/or burns).
  • Signs of neglect
    • Unsuitable clothing for weather.
    • Dirty or unbathed.
    • Extreme hunger.
    • Apparent lack of supervision.
    • Abandonment.
    • Insufficient safety precautions in the home.
    • Unattended medical, dental or educational needs.
  • Signs of exploitation
    • All forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, including debt bondage or forced marriage.
    • Sexual exploitation.
    • Servitude.
    • Forced labour or services.
    • Removal of organs.


Childline South Africa: 0800 055 555
Child Welfare South Africa: 0861 4 CHILD (24453) / 011 452-4110 /

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