A Child Protection Hotline was launched in Brits earlier this month and a hotline for Hartbeespoort will be announced early in September.
The hotline offers any child, care giver of children, parent, teacher or anyone invested in the well being of children, the opportunity to report any alleged child abuse, child neglect or bullying.
Toys for Africa, a non-profit organisation that was founded to distribute educational toys, and stationary to underprivileged children, founded the Child Protection Hotline in September 2019.
“While we were distributing toys and stationary at schools, we became aware of many other challenges faced by the children. One of them was abuse, and the idea for a hotline was born,” says Danie van Loggerenberg, founder of Toys for Africa. “Since 2016 we have been visiting schools with the police to talk about and educate children on bullying, child abuse, child neglect, drugs, the basic rights of children and cyber bullying.”
The hotlines in different areas are established in conjunction with the police and other roleplayers. In Brits, local security company, Monitor Net, and local Brits attorneys Langenhoven Pistorius Modihapula, have partnered with Toys for Africa to launch the Brits Child Protection Hotline.
“The Brits Child Protection Hotline is not an investigating arm, but rather an opportunity to report alleged child abuse, child neglect or bullying and we in return will make contact with the police in Brits to get the children in need the assistance they need,” he says. “ We will also, through the police, make contact with the relevant social workers at the Department of Social Development, should a social worker be needed to investigate.”
The Hotline is open to receive Whastapp messages, SMS messages and phone calls. The Brits number is 072 408 8864 and the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
The first Hotline was launched in Centurion in September 2019.
“Currently I personally handle every single sms, whatsapp and phone call received by all the hotlines. Once Covid-19 regulations are over, we will open our call centre. Our plan for the call centre is to have a trained social worker available at all times, while rotating the calls and messages received between myself and other call centre operators.”
He says the messages received by the hotlines varies from complaints about neighbours shouting at their children, children being touched inappropriately to child pornography.
Hotlines in Boitekong, Soshanguve and Hartbeespoort will all be launched within the next two weeks.