Friday, January 15, 2021

Child neglect worries Childline

The increase of child neglect and violence against children is reportedly rampant in Botswana, a new report has revealed.
“Despite the enactment of the children’s act of 2009, violence against children as well as issue of child neglect and parenting are a paramount concern,” Childline Botswana which is a Non Governmental Organisation says in a report.
Findings of the report 34 percent of all cases that came through the crisis line were child neglect, child abandonment or issues of parenting.
According to the 2012/13 report, 719 calls streamed into the organization crisis line, with Gaborone dominating the number of calls at a total of 53.3 percent.
Of the cases reported via the crisis line, rape, other forms of sexual abuse and physical abuse constituted a total of 16 percent.
“A lot is happening to our children….the main challenge we have is that not all children are aware of the crisis line,” said Onkemetse Montsheki the coordinator at Childline. A case in point is that of a girl who was harassed by her father sexually in the absence of her mother. She only opened up after Childline had visited the school and made a presentation,” she said.
The northern part of the country including the central district, Selebi Phikwe, Francistown and north east constitute only 13 percent. “This is indicative of the organization limited presence in the rest of the country as the office is only based in Gaborone,” said Montsheki.
Presently 20 children are housed at the facility. The place of safety accommodates children in danger or distress. The oldest child is 9 years and the youngest being 2 weeks old.
However because of the financial constraints facing the organization, Childline is now encouraging foster parenting. “It has proven to be very costly on our part to run a place of safety hence we call upon people who want to be foster parents to visit our offices,” revealed Montsheki.
She added that children do not fully develop to the desired level socially due to lack of proper family set up. “We encourage foster parenting to ensure that children have a particular culture that they can assume and the place of safety we want to make it the last resort for children,” said Montsheki.
Presently, the department of Social Protection is revising the Children Adoption Act to align it to the different conventions in the world.

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