Hartbeespoort’s Child Protection Hotline is one of the busiest in the country and of great concern is that many people who report child abuse, are not prepared to get involved.
These were some of the feedback given during an information session of the Child Abuse hotlines in Hartbeespoort and Brits by the founder of Childline, a service offered all around South Africa. The Hartbeespoort Childline was launched in October last year in order to give children and concerned parties the opportunity to report any alleged child abuse, child neglect or bullying.
“This hotline’s main aim is to assist children in trouble. It is a channel for children to safely report abuse via a phone call, WhatsApp message or SMS. The message will be assessed and forwarded to police, social development department, emergency services and relevant authorities. We expect these authorities to do their work and will follow up after feedback from complainants,” says Danie van Loggerenberg, founder of Toys for Africa, which led to the establishment of already 15 child protection hotlines all over South Africa.
The call centre in Hartbeespoort is being supported by King Price, PWV Security and V8 Roadhouse, and operates in conjunction with the Brits Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual offences (FCS) unit of the police, the Hartbeespoort Crime Prevention Unit, and social workers in the area.
In Brits, local security company, Monitor Net, and attorneys Langenhoven Pistorius Modihapula, have partnered with The Brits Child Protection Hotline.
“The 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 relevant authorities to get the children in need the assistance they need,” he says.
Regarding cases being reported in Hartbeespoort, Danie says people’s unwillingness to get involved makes it difficult to follow up on cases. “A person will for instance report abuse but is not prepared to get involved in any way. This is now only allegations and hearsay and makes it difficult for law enforcement and social workers to follow up. Our children’s lives are at stake here, and we request people who report abuse to please consider this.”
With more relaxed COVID-19 regulations, Danie and his team now want to visit schools in the area to introduce the hotline and advise children. “We request schools to contact us for scheduled visits. We would like the Childline number displayed at all schools. All children must know they have a voice and there are ears that listen. We are there for the children and we request every citizen to help us see to their safety.”
The Hartbeespoort Hotline number is open to receive WhatsApp messages, SMS messages and phone calls on 072 086 5854. The Brits number is 072 408 8864. Email the Brits and Hartbeespoort childline at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Schools can contact Danie on 082 303 7088.