When do I report child abuse?
The Children’s Act (Act 38/2005) and Sexual Offences Act (Act 32/2007) both establish mandatory reporting obligations to report abuse. Failure to report is a criminal offence, but more importantly it could leave a child at risk without support and services.
When do you report?
If you suspect that there was/is abuse or deliberate neglect, it must be reported to one of three authorities:
- a designated child protection organization (like Rata Social Services, CMR, Child Welfare)
- the provincial Department of Social Development, or
- A Police Official.
The compulsory reporting obligation applies only to sexual abuse, physical abuse causing injury, and deliberate neglect. However, there are many other circumstances that may leave a child in need of care and protection. In these cases, anyone can make a voluntary report.
The full list in section 150(1) of Children’s Act, Act 38 of 2005, provides that a child is considered to be in need of care and protection if, for example, the child:
- Has been abandoned or orphaned and without visible means of support;
- Lives or works on the street or begs for a living;
- Is addicted to a substance and without support to obtain treatment;
- Lives in or is exposed to circumstances which may seriously harm his physical, mental or social well-being;
- Is in a state of physical or mental neglect (see the full list for more examples).
If you find a child in any of these circumstances, you can make a voluntary report to the appropriate authority. Complete Form 22; submit it to a designated Child Protection Organization or official, and a social worker will be assigned to do an investigation into the circumstances of the case.
People who MUST report suspected child abuse and/or neglect
Section 110(1) of the Children’s Act, Act 38 of 2005 mandates the following category of professionals to report any reasonable suspicion of child abuse and neglect to the relevant authorities: correctional official, dentist, homeopath, immigration official, labour inspector, legal practitioner, medical practitioner, midwife, minister of religion, nurse, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, psychologist, religious leader, social services professional, social worker, speech therapist, teacher, traditional health practitioner, traditional leader or member of staff of volunteer worker at a partial care facility, drop-in center or child and youth care center.
Failure to report is a criminal offence, but more importantly it could leave a child at risk without support and services.
Steps to report child abuse or neglect:
If you find a child in any of these circumstances listed, you can make a voluntary report
Complete Form 22. Available on the internet or email email@example.com.
Email your completed form to one of the designated child protection organizations or to Desia Mthembu at DSD (Desia.Mthembu@gauteng.gov.za) and a social worker will be assigned to do an investigation into the circumstances of the case.
** Please note that areas are designated to certain CPO (Child Protection Organizations). A list can be made available on request.
National Child Protection Register (CPR)
Who need to be screened against the CPR:
Section 126 of the Children’s Act states:
- Before a person is allowed:
- To work with or have access to children at an institution providing welfare services to children, including a CYCC, partial care facility, drop-in-center or school, the person managing or operating the institution or school must establish whether or not that person’s name appears in Part B of the Register. (Form 29)
When in doubt…. ASK
|Rata Social Services||(012) 325 2320 /1/2/3 (012) 543 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com||CPO|
|CMR||(012) 361 4619 /firstname.lastname@example.org||CPO|
|Kungweni||(012) 940 email@example.com||CPO|
|SAVF||(012) 325 firstname.lastname@example.org||CPO|
|Suzanne van Deventer||066 477 email@example.com||CPO|
|Legal Aid SA Bronwinn Marshall||076 151 3738||BronwinnM@legal-aid.co.za||Legal Aid|
|A/O Boshoff||071 185 firstname.lastname@example.org||Child Porno-graphy, etc|
|Hannelie Schwartz||073 789 5796||Hannelie.email@example.com||CPO|
|Department of Social Development||(012) 312 7500||Desia.Mthembu@gauteng.gov.za|
|SAPS FCS Unit||082 820 6823
(012) 334 4365 /66