Impilo – Fact Sheet

Impilo – Fact Sheet

  • Child Welfare SA estimated that more than 3500 babies were abandoned in SA in 2010.
  • There are no current statistics detailing the number of children who are abandoned in South Africa on an annual basis, but most child protection organizations believe that the numbers have increased significantly over the past decade.
  • It is estimated that about 3500 children are abandoned annually in SA, about 300 per month and the figure only includes survivors.
  • Figures compiled in Gauteng show that for every abandoned child found alive, two are found dead.
  • 70 per cent of abandonments are unsafe and many babies are never found.
  • “A recent Medical Research Council study on child homicide reveals that children in South Africa are at the highest risk of unnatural death in the first six days of life. Research shows that 65 per cent of abandoned children are new-borns, and 90 per cent are under the age of one. Many abandoned babies have already survived a late-term abortion. 52 to 58 per cent of South African abortions (up to 150 000 per annum) are illegal,” NACSA said.
  • 65% are new-born.
  • 90% are younger than a year.
  • 70% of abandonment sites cited are unsafe.
  • The number one mentioned site of abandonment is toilets, drains, sewers and gutters.
  • This is followed in descending order of mentions:

What can be done?

  • Lowering the age of consent for adoption placement.
  • Facilitating safe abandonment through implementing safe haven laws.
  • Revising xenophobic policies regarding foreigners and barriers to adoption.
  • Policing of illegal abortion practitioners.
  • Conducting quantitative research to understand the scope of the problem.
  • Listing abandonment in crime and mortuary statistics to quantify the problem.
  • Enlisting pregnancy initiatives to support vulnerable women.

How to Protect your child

In South Africa one child goes missing every five hours.

What YOU should do:

  • Always Know your child’s whereabouts.
  • At a very early age, teach your child their name, address and telephone number and your first and last name.
  • Teach them how to call 10111 for help.
  • Make sure children know how to make local and long-distance telephone calls.
  • Teach your children to scream as loudly as possible, and that it is okay to do so when afraid.
  • Never leave children alone in a car, not even for a few seconds.
  • Establish strict procedures for picking up children at school, after movies, at friends’ homes, etc.
  • Establish a family code word that only you, your child and a trusted relative or friend knows. Teach your child to ask for the code word when approached by someone offering them a ride.
  • Remind your children to never accept a ride from someone you don’t know, even if the child knows them.
  • Talk to your children about child abduction in a simple, non-threatening way.
  • Listen to your child when he or she discusses anyone they have met or spoken with when you weren’t around.
  • Have photographs taken of your children at least four times a year (especially for pre-schoolers). Make note of birthmarks or other distinguishing features.
  • Have your child fingerprinted and store the prints in a safe, easily accessible place in your home.

Teach your children to:

  • Never leave home without your permission. Very small children should play only in areas away from the street, such as a backyard, or in a play area supervised by a responsible adult.
  • Never wander off, to avoid lonely places, and to avoid shortcuts through alleys or deserted areas. They are safer walking or playing with friends.
  • Come straight home from school unless you have made other arrangements.
  • Never enter anyone’s home without your approval.
  • If accosted by a stranger in a mall, scream ‘This is not my Daddy!’ and get behind the nearest shop counter.
  • Scream, run away and tell you or a trusted adult if anyone attempts to touch or grab them, of if a stranger offers them a ride.
  • Never give any information over the telephone including their name and address, or indicate they are alone.
  • Keep doors locked and admit only authorized people into the house.

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