PROTECTING SOUTH AFRICAN FAMILIES, PARENTS AND CHILDREN(DECEMBER 2021)
A SHORT OVERVIEW OF SOME OF CAUSE FOR JUSTICE’S STRATEGIC ACTIVITIES DURING THE SECOND HALF OF 2021
We are committed to assisting you to protect your family from destructive forces. Cause for Justice recognises that a stable family unit is the cornerstone of flourishing communities and of our society. We also believe that society is collectively responsible for the social welfare and security of all people – especially the most vulnerable (like children).
That is why, during the second half of 2021, we continued to engage in various causes focusing on protecting and promoting the constitutional rights, freedoms and best interests of families, parents and children.
VALUES-BASED SEXUALITY EDUCATION EXPO
At the end of September 2021, Cause for Justice hosted a Values-based Sexuality Education Expo in the Drakenstein area of the Western Cape, South Africa. The Expo was a great opportunity to make parents, teachers and child protection stakeholders aware of:
- The ideological prejudices implicit in the Department of Basic Education’s Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) scripted lesson plans.
- The availability of values-based sexuality education programmes that can be used as alternatives to the CSE in the classroom.
- How values-based sexuality education materials can be practically implemented in the classroom.
The programme consisted of an informative panel discussion, presentations about four values-based sexuality education programmes and on how alternative learning materials can be used in the classroom, and an exhibition on alternative programmes and supplementary learning materials.
Guests agreed that we cannot afford to ignore or remain ignorant of important issues affecting our children’s sexual health and relationships. You can equip yourself by taking a deeper dive into the issues surrounding CSE, by watching this series of five videos, where our panel of experts discuss:
- The context, background, and content of the CSE scripted lesson plans (Video 1).
- Parents’, counsellors’ and therapists’ concerns and experiences with CSE (Video 2).
- The philosophical and political elements to CSE and radical gender ideology (Video 3).
- Gender identity disorder and transgender ideology (Video 4).
- The closing of the panel discussion (Video 5).
You can learn more about specific values-based programmes and how to implement one in your school, by watching this series of five videos:
- Tomorrow’s Leaders in Training
- Life at the Crossroads
- No Apologies (Focus on the Family)
- Smart Life
- Making use of alternative learning material in the classroom
Cause for Justice Executive Director and Legal Counsel, Ryan Smit, concluded the day’s proceedings by giving a presentation on –
- the ineffectiveness of CSE,
- why the state-sponsored CSE scripted lesson plans are not compulsory, and
- what strategies are available for those who do not want to make use of the CSE scripted lesson plans in the classroom.
To learn more:
CSE and ‘Learner Pregnancy Policy’
Sadly, many South African children do not enjoy values-based sexuality education at home or school. As a result, they are not raised to be resilient to harmful messages about sexuality and relationships – and the destructive behaviours flowing from it.
The Department of Basic Education’s controversial CSE content does not focus on only abstinence and character development. What is more, studies gauging its impact, found CSE is ineffective and even harmful! The good news is, the CSE scripted lesson plans are not compulsory – so parents, schools and teachers can take steps to ensure our children receive values-based sexuality education.
The South African public first learnt about a renewed drive to inculcate CSE in school curriculum when the Department published its draft National Policy on the Prevention and Management of Learner Pregnancy in Schools in 2018. The purpose of the Policy is to reduce learner pregnancy through CSE and providing sexual and reproductive health services (which includes abortion) to children. Following a public consultation process, during which Cause for Justice delivered written submissions, the Department has recently approved the Policy and will now submit it to the Cabinet for final consideration.
- The Department of Basic Education’s controversial Comprehensive Sexuality Education in schools (KingFisherFM radio interview)
16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM AGAINST VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN (GBV)
Violence against women and children is a scourge we need to pro-actively eradicate from our society. This year, Cause for Justice supported the global 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign, by focussing on the importance of raising our children with values that say loud and clear: no form of abuse is acceptable!
Healthy families provide children with the best opportunity to grow into healthy adults who contribute to creating and sustaining healthy communities. That is why ending GBV starts at home: teaching our children healthy values about sex, and gender relationships, is the first line of defence.
While parents bear the primary responsibility for this, we also need to ensure that any sexuality education offered in schools, is values-based, scientifically accurate and age-appropriate. Then children will understand that sex is not simply a ‘recreational activity’, and know how to treat others (and themselves) with respect.
Our 16 Days of Activism against GBV campaign forms part of our continued participation in the 365 Days of Action for No Violence against Children programme. This Department of Social Development-led initiative encourages civil society stakeholders to develop and roll-out community-based awareness, prevention and early-intervention plans in order to help end violence against children.
CHILD PROTECTION STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT
The abuse and exploitation of children is an unacceptable injustice, especially because of children’s particular vulnerability. That is why Cause for Justice continues to seek out and seize opportunities to promote child protection and prevent child exploitation.
We know that something of this magnitude can only be addressed by working together. That is why we invest in strategic relationships in the child protection and anti-child exploitation sector – by engaging fellow child protection stakeholders, attending and contributing to governmental and key civil society child protection forums and child rights coalitions. Some of our activities over the course of the past semester included:
- Giving a presentation on CSE and programmes that can be used as alternatives to the Department of Basic Education’s scripted lesson plans to the Drakenstein Child Protection Steering Group.
- Facilitating meetings between local child protection and anti-trafficking stakeholders (from government and civil society organisations in the Helderberg area) to identify local child trafficking concerns and collaboration opportunities.
- Meeting with the national Department of Social Development about local child protection stakeholders’ frustration with the severe backlogs and delays experienced with getting Child Protection Register clearances for prospective foster parents and childcare workers – and in this way, contributing to the implementation of a solution which has significantly decreased the backlog and delays.
EXPLOITATION STAKEHOLDER WORKSHOP
In December 2021, we took part in a four-day training workshop on child trafficking and exploitation, hosted by the Child Protection Directorate of the Department of Social Development. Due to our continued good relationship with the Department, we were invited to give a presentation on ‘porn-proofing’ children’s spaces – which was very well received. The Department also encouraged participants to reach out to CFJ-founded ‘Centre Against Sexual Exploitation, South Africa (CASE-SA)’ to learn more about the harms of pornography exposure (and how to keep children safe) and to involve CASE-SA in their community-based programmes.
- Visit the CASE-SA website.
- Read our latest CASE-SA blog.
* CASE-SA is an initiative of Cause for Justice.
#PARENTTALK: THE UNSPOKEN EPIDEMIC
The global Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted and exacerbated another epidemic – an ‘unspoken epidemic’: Children and Pornography. Due to lock-down restrictions, children have been spending more and more time online, both for educational and recreational purposes. Children have never before faced a greater risk of being exposed to the severely harmful impact of pornography.
That is why the CASE-SA has stepped up and produced the virtual #ParentTalk course, with a message of hope, to educate and empower parents and caregivers to protect children in their care appropriately in this digital age!
The #ParentTalk course includes four core training modules consisting of 90 minutes of interviews, that cover important topics such as:
- The prevalence and harms of pornography exposure.
- The impact of pornography the development child brain.
- Equipping parents to prepare children for exposure (and how to recover from its effects).
- Using technological resources to safeguard children.
But this is only the starting point. #ParentTalk also guides parents, teachers and other caregivers of children to a growing list of great additional resources, informative interviews, and details of service providers who can help you or your loved ones overcome sexual trauma, addiction and health issues relating to pornography.
Get involved without delay – help protect our children today:
- Sign-up for the #ParentTalk course.
- Sign-up to become a #ParentTalk and Pornproofing Ambassador.
- Visit the Unspoken Epidemic (#ParentTalk) website.
CHILD PROTECTION LAW AND POLICY REFORM
The South African Constitution provides that a “child’s best interests are of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child”. Cause for Justice is committed to ensuring that South African law reflect this. That is why we participate in the legislative process and comment on policy documents that affect the interests of children.
Children’s Amendment Bill
South Africa’s premier legislative child protection instrument, the Childrens Act, is being reviewed – providing a great opportunity to ensure the law protects children effectively against the harmful impact of exposure to explicit sexual and violent content. We focused our submission on the importance of introducing a legal duty to protect children from harmful content, delivering oral submissions [at 3:58:32 to 4:22:59] to Parliament (in addition to our written submissions).
Research shows that exposure to sexual and violent content is severely harmful to children. This is why a positive obligation, setting out what people legally are required to do, is necessary for protecting children’s well-being and best interests.
- Ensuring South African child law effectively protects children from harmful content (blog)
- Human rights organisation implores Parliament: Act now to protect our children from harmful content! (press release)
LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW WE ASSIST YOU TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY AND CHILDREN
Want to learn more about how Cause for Justice has advocated for the best interests of children and assisted to protect families during 2021? Read our –
- First semester overview blog
- Second semester news briefings and alerts
HELP US TO CONTINUE ADVOCATING TO PROTECT FAMILIES AND CHILDREN
The wellbeing of families and children are important to us. We believe both are worthy of protection. Cause for Justice will continue taking up causes and taking a stand to defend and advance the interests of families and children in South Africa.
If you are passionate about protecting families and children, we invite you to support our work by way of regular or ad-hoc donations. Without your contributions, we will not be able to continue taking up worthy causes such as these.
Please visit our website to find out how to make a donation of any amount.
Cause for Justice is a registered public benefit organisation for South African income tax purposes and may issue section 18A receipts, which entitle donors to claim tax deductions in respect of donations made to Cause for Justice.