PRESS RELEASE: Justice for Gabby – Abuse Against Minor Children
With the recent incident of toddler Gabby being viciously beaten by the very woman that she calls mommy, whilst her mothers boy friend recorded the ordeal on his cell phone, sent shock waves through the community, as many could not comprehend how two adults can be so cold hearted and calculating.
This incident together with several others incidents regarding the abuse on minor children, lead me to pen this article to create and raise awareness on the various sources of laws, that are in place that protects the rights of children.
Section 28 (1) (d) of the Constitution of South Africa states “Every child has the right to be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation”.
Now this provision places a legal duty on all adults who have control, care and contact of minor children, irrespective of what capacity you are in relation to the child. This can be interpreted to mean that parents, teachers, neighbours, family members are all subjected to this provision of the constitution.
Children are regarded as innocent and defenceless beings whom require the highest form of care and nurturing, so that they can thrive to become responsible members of society. They have a right to live and grow in an environment that is conducive to growth and development.
Further to the above section 28 (2) states that “a child’s interest is of paramount importance in every matter concerning a child”. Therefore, our Judiciary comprising our Courts are all given the Power to impose the maximum sentences to offenders.
The National Prosecuting Authority has a specialised branch of Public Prosecutors who are resident at Regional Courts that deal specifically with cases involving minor children, and an attack on a minor child is considered one of the highest forms of Aggravation circumstances that the court will take into account when sentencing an offender.
Like minded offenders are required to provide the courts with substantial and compelling circumstances that will allow the courts to deviate from imposing the prescribed minimum sentence.
In the case with Toddler Gabby I foresee that this matter will be transferred to Regional court from District court for the District court will not have the Jurisdiction to sentence the Mother and Boyfriend.
The court will show no mercy in this respect especially considering that the offender is the child’s mother, the person who was supposed to be the child’s primary care giver.
The Constitution further guarantees that Parental rights are not absolute and that like every other citizen these parents are subject to criminal prosecution against any form of abuse on their children.
There are various Act’s that have been promogulated into law that Govern, regulate and safeguard the rights of children, such as –:
- The Child Care Act
- The Childs Justice Act
- The Children’s Charter of South Africa.
In summation I believe that a legal duty exists on all of us as South Africans to become radical about protecting our children, irrespective of being a parent or not.
We are required to become proactive and create rights movements that encompass the desire and the urgency to protect our children who are the vulnerable race.
I trust that the article or piece was informative and insightful to enable you to know what the law says about the rights of our children.
Child hot line number is 1800 422 4453
Article by: Ashwin Rugbheer