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South Africa joins the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children

Pretoria, 15 December 2017: South Africa, through the Minister of Social Development on behalf of Cabinet, has formalized its membership to the Global Partnership to End Violence thus becoming the 13th ‘Pathfinder country’ to join this important initiative.

The Partnership (also referred to as “End Violence”) convenes governments, UN agencies, international organizations, civil society, faith groups, the private sector, philanthropic foundations, researchers, academics, and children in order to:

  1. Build and sustain political will to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals while promoting evidence-based strategies that will lead to significant, sustained and measurable reductions in violence against children
  2. Work with partners to accelerate action to tackle the violence that children face, with an initial focus on countries that wish to lead the movement to end violence
  3. Enhance collaboration among and between countries, and with civil society and other stakeholders.

The initiative assists countries at national level to strengthen policies and laws, design and adopt evidence based prevention and response interventions and programmes, improve data collection and information systems as well as expand programmes on changing attitudes and mindsets that perpetuate continued violence against children.

South Africa has admirable policies, laws and strategies including in the Constitution, the Children’s Act and the Integrated Programme of Action to address Violence Against Women and Children. Despite these commendable efforts, the country is still confronted with high levels of violence against children (1 in every 3 children experience violence more than once in their childhood before reaching the age of 1 and 1 in 5 children of school-going age have experienced sexual violence). Becoming a Pathfinder country will help define the inter-sectoral coordination mechanisms to enhance concerted action amongst partners.

Since the inception of the partnership in 2016, UNICEF South Africa has worked with government, civil society, development partners and academic institutions to prepare South Africa to become a Pathfinder country by conducting briefings on the significance and benefits of joining the partnership. These efforts were escalated to the highest political level which culminated in a positive response from the Minister of Social Development.

High levels of violence against children negatively impact the growth of the economy as the cost of supporting victims of violence weigh heavily on a government’s budget. Hence, investments in ECD, health, education, nutrition, will not have the expected return in a child’s development if violence against children is not reduced. South Africa becoming a Pathfinder country opens the door to global leadership, national leadership, support for coordinated action around a National Plan of Action to combat Violence against Children, resources and technical assistance.

Every child has the right to live a happy, safe and healthy childhood free from violence, abuse, neglect, exploitation and fear. By joining the Global Movement to End Violence against Children, South Africa continues to make the welfare and protection of children a priority.

For further information:

> Global Partnership website
> Twitter: @GPtoEndViolence
> Save the Children Report: Violence against children costs SA R238 billion
> Optimus Study [PDF]



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