Presentation on theme: "Domestic Violence Public Hearings of the Portfolio & Select Committee on Women, Youth, Children and People with Disabilities in Parliament Date: Thursday."— Presentation transcript:
Domestic Violence Public Hearings of the Portfolio & Select Committee on Women, Youth, Children and People with Disabilities in Parliament Date: Thursday 29th October 2009 Children’s Submission
Focus groups children The following submission is based on the views and experiences of children who took part in the children’s focus group discussions for the Children’s Summit held in the following areas; –Atlantis –Beaufort West –Delft –Guguletu / Nyanga –Mossel Bay –Saldana
Focus groups 80 Children 12 – 16 years
Our views on Domestic Violence Child are neglected and hurt in the their homes and elsewhere by their parents, siblings, other family members or people they live with. Children are neglected and abused Children are not given enough food Children are not supported and looked after properly Children are beaten, kicked, pulled thrown with objects, stabbed, sexual abuse, raped and even killed.
Who are the perpetrators? Fathers & mothers Step fathers & step mothers Brothers & Sisters Step brothers & step sisters Grand parents Aunts and uncles Other family members Foster parents Other care givers Others children live with & those next door
Who are most at risk? Babies and young children – neglect, physical and verbal abuse - because they can not run away Children between 6 and 10 years – neglect, sexual abuse & rape Children between 11 and 14 years – neglect, sexual abuse and rape (incest) Older children – neglect, physical and verbal abuse, sexual abuse & rape (incest)
Impact of domestic violence Physical trauma Psychological trauma Stress and depression Sleeplessness & bed wetting Withdrawn & quiet Guilt and shame Rebellious Anti-social behaviour Violent and abusive behaviour Drop-out of school Become teen fathers & mothers
Getting help / reporting domestic violence Very few children tell and report Guilt, shame and fear stop children from telling someone. Children are threatened Domestic issues are settled ‘privately’ Children are told not to tell Children are scared Children suffer in silence Police does not help!
Our Views on Crime Crime is when people stab and kill each other. Crime is when children are hurt and used to commit crime. Children also commit crime. Crime is violence and conflict with the law. It involves sex with children, abuse, harassment and treating children badly. Crime is bullying, robbery, rape, domestic violence and house breaking. How big is it? Crime is a big problem –‘it happens every minute, every hour and every day.’ The rate of crime is very high- it is not going down.
Reasons for the high crime rate Poor parenting and domestic violence Shebeens make people fight and stab each other with knives. Gangsterism in communities. Poverty and unemployment. Communities are not standing together. The availability of alcohol and drugs. Poor law enforcement – ‘Criminals are not in prison. Prison is a hotel that does not help. Laws are not implemented.’ Youth commit crime as they have too much time sitting in corners doing nothing. They also don’t listen to parents and give in to peer pressure. A lack of recreational activities.
The nature of crime committed against children Children are abuse and hurt by people they live with – parents and family members Children are raped, assaulted, kidnapped and murdered. Many children are sexually and physically abused. Sexual abuse, including the sexual exploitation of children and using children for sex work. They are also neglected and ‘dumped’ (abandoned). Children are bullied and involved in fights. Some children are being sent to buy drugs and taught how to use drugs.
The Impact of Crime on children Being a victim of crime influences the performance of children at school and can lead to school dropout. Some children can become criminals themselves because of their experience of crime. It can cause suicide and depression. Some children become withdrawn and are outcasts in their community. These experiences creates emotional instability as children are fearful, hurt inside, lack self esteem, are afraid, depressed, not free to do what they want to, feel unsafe and are cooped up at home. They ‘get out of their minds’ and loose the ability to trust and loose respect. Some children stay on the streets as they are living with unsafe people. ‘Rape stays with you forever. You live in fear for the rest of your life. A child who was raped becomes reserved and looses self confidence.’
Who commits crimes against children? Drug dealers and drug addicts. Convicted criminals. Police and government leaders. Stepfathers and parents. Teachers. Community leaders. Gangsters. In most of the focus groups, participants claimed that the majority of crimes against children were committed by local residents. A minority of these crimes were committed by people from outside areas. However, in one of the groups it was alleged that most of the perpetrators are from outside areas and obtain information from local perpetrators.
Reporting of crimes against children In most of the focus groups, participants indicated that they would report crimes against children. However, this was said with reservation and ambivalence, as indicated below: Reporting a crime is not easy as ‘they are being intimidated not to report, feel afraid and are threatened.’ Some participants said they would report a crime but were not willing to be a witness ‘because we are scared of dying.’ Others said they would report crime but only if the police will not keep coming to their house for more information as this could jeopardize their safety and put them in danger.
Reasons for not report crimes against children Robbers are always armed. ‘There is nothing you can do when someone tries to hurt you, as they normally have a knife or gun. You try to run away. Sometimes you are lucky and you get away without being hurt.’ ‘Sometimes it is safer not to tell anybody.’ Participants indicated that they would report crime to the police, teachers, ngo’s, social workers, parents and relatives as well as friends. They would report crimes to anybody who is trustworthy.
Nature and availability of substances A wide range of substances (both legal and illegal) are freely available - Cannabis (various types), tik, alcohol, mandrax, cocaine,ecstasy, cigarettes, anaesthetics from hospital and glue Substances can be obtained easily and in any of the following ways: One can ‘go around the corner or around the block. You can send someone to get it for you or ask in the community.’ Drugs can be obtained from shebeens and liquor stores. Family and friends. Some children live in homes where drugs are being sold. Substances can also be obtained from druglords and drugdealers, tik houses and gangsters. Some children sell drugs at school while other people sell drugs on street.
Substance abuse in families Only a few participants said that substance abuse was a problem in their families. Participants were reluctant to discuss this issue Many children have personal experiences of the impact of substances Families abuse and assault each other. It changes people’s behaviour. It makes family members argue and fight and results in the abuse of children. Substance abuse ‘hurts children and families.’ Substance abuse leads to the loss of jobs and unemployment. Families fall apart, members loose love and respect for each other. Substance abuse also cause financial recklessness and irresponsibility as addicts are always in need of money and will steal family possessions and take money to buy substances. Families become dysfunctional.
How children spend their time? Electronic forms of entertainment such as computer and tv games Doing household chores Spending time with friends Playing sport in the street or in sitting on the street corner Hanging out at shebeens and drug houses and smoking with friends In one of the focus groups it was reported that a significant number of children in the area some dagga, are sexually active and involved in gang activities. Doing homework
Community facilities for children Very few young people participate in organized social and recreational activities Lack of such opportunities in their communities. Many young people joined gangs. In areas where organized activities were available, young people joined church, youth, sport and cultural groups. In all focus groups, an overwhelming need for the establishment of positive recreational opportunities and facilities for young people were expressed. These include the following:
What children want? Sporting facilities, outdoor and hiking clubs. Cultural activities such as music, drama, dancing and movies. Cultural festivals and community choirs. Community service. Educational facilities such as ‘studdy buddy clubs’, reading facilities and book clubs. Psycho-social services such as support groups, safe parks and safe places for children as well as after care programmes. Entertainment facilities such as amusement parks.
How families can better care for their children Parents should give their children more love and attention. They should know where their children are. Families should sit down with their children and discuss issues. They must spend more time with their children. Parents must be open with their children. Parents must trust their children more. They must ensure that their homes are safe for children and teach their children about safety. They must set boundaries and respect their children. Parents must stop drinking and taking drugs, stop stealing, take responsibility for their actions and be responsible to their children and community.
Child care & protection There should be more police and health services. The church should assist. Assistance should be provided to families in distress. Provide jobs for unemployed parents. Unsafe and open spaces must be build up. Drug houses and shebeens must be closed down. Shelters and places of safety for children must be provided. Build bigger houses so that children can have proper beds. The state must prioritise crime and act strictly against it. Increase awareness and educational programmes. Create safe communities. Ensure that children attend school and study. Patrol communities to ensure that children attend school on time.
Child care and protection Parents Police Hospitals the state & local government Community & ngo’s families, social and community workers were identified as being responsible for the care and protection of children.
Tips…! They must take their children to church. Parents must be adaptable to changing situations and children’s evolving needs. They must identify signs that their children are in difficulty. Parents must support each other in hard times. Improve communication with kids. Respect their kids then they will respect you as a parent. Love your child at all times. Appreciate and care for your child. Love your children unconditionally and consistently. Keep telling children that you love them. ‘Give support to children in every problem they encounter with the greatest love.’
Prevent Domestic violence Jobs for parents Parent support groups and services Parenting programmes Parents must stop abuse alcohol and drugs Social workers and police must do regular check-ups to see how children are doing Police must investigate and protect children in homes Children at risk and those who are victims must be supported Abusers and offenders must be removed from the homes
The law! We don’t know about the law – the Domestic Violence Act. Our parents don’t know about the law! Our community don’t know about the law! We need to inform children, parents, families and communities about the law and their rights. We need to implement The Children’s Act, The Sexual Offences Act; etc.