Prevent Child Abuse from the Time of Conception
All children need a loving home to flourishing in where they feel secure and respected.
At SOS Children’s Villages, we work with some of the most vulnerable members of our society, children who have either lost or are at risk of losing their parental care. We are witness almost every day to cases where parents have failed their children, and we see the immense toll that this takes on these children.
Each case is unique and each child is too. But in many instances, it is apparent to us that the parents of these children did not anticipate the immense responsibility involved in raising a child.
Some of the examples presented below are all too common and we need to act urgently…
1. The conception and birth of a child motivated by a belief that it would lead to marriage. When things do not work out as expected, the child suffers.
2. A single mother abandoning her two daughters to go and stay with another man and using the monthly grant for her own needs. The two girls depend on donations for food and clothing from neighbours. In this case, the Mother abandoned her children because she was ill-prepared to be their caregiver.
Stories like these are all too common in South Africa. When children are exposed to such violence and neglect they often struggle to achieve at school and have a much higher chance of abusing alcohol and drugs. Most importantly, they often end up being poor caregivers themselves in later life, and so the cycle continues.
It is of utmost importance that all prospective parents consider their situation carefully before deciding to have a child. They need to start caring for the child before it is even conceived so that they can provide adequate love, care and protection for the child after birth.
SOS Children’s Villages believes that children benefit from growing up in a loving home, where the caregivers have access to family and community support. If the future of the unborn child is not fully considered before conception, then the likelihood is greatly heightened that the child will be abandoned, neglected or abused.
Each prospective parent needs to be able to make the right decisions concerning their children. Parents should be in a position to instil in the child the core values and moral standards necessary for healthy functioning, and a healthy parent-child relationship; teaching the child to become a self-reliant young person. SOS Children’s Villages provides family strengthening services in communities across South Africa. The goal is to ensure that parents have the capacity to properly raise their children and that family breakdown does not take place.
During the 16 days of activism against the abuse of children and women, we at SOS Children’s Villages are joining the Government in saying “count us in” as we speak against all forms and all levels of abuse. We say “Let us educate young people to go back to the philosophy of family planning to prevent unplanned childbirth that often leads to overburdened parents and failure to bring children up in a way that protects their well-being”.
For those who have already been exposed or affected by Violence in early childhood, we say let us prevent further exposure that may cause further damage and reverse healing. Let us work together at different levels to assist these children and young people in getting professional help by referring them to Social Workers, who can refer them to NGO's like SOS Children's Villages or directly to intervention programmes that we partner with to provide mental health support. Our country is marked by violence that has become a significant problem that should be combatted. Each one of us has a role and responsibility in preventing or stopping exposure to violence from the time of conception until the child is born and grows into an adult.