Children’s Forum, Summary from Working Groups

Summary: Children's forum toof place in Johannesburg
from 16 to 17 July 2005, in preparation for the
general consultation.
Group 1 – types of violence in the workplace

Examples and types of violence:

- Work in mines and farms
- Prostitution, including brothels
- Domestic workers, maids and factories

Forms of abuse:

1. Sexual abuse:
Children are working in harvesting in farms, and often have too much
work. Sexual abuse occurs when children are bribed by their boss into
doing less work, or are offered more money. Consequences include: early
pregnancies, abortion, cervical cancer, etc.

2. Drug abuse:
Children use drugs as anti depressants. They use drugs because they
have too much work and are put under extreme pressure. Drugs stimulate
them but also means they can be taken advantaged of easily.

3. Physical abuse:
Physical abuse includes fighting, bullying, etc. This happens especially with
domestic workers if, for instance, the child is not working right, their
bosses beat them.

4. Exploitation:
Children undertake work that is beyond their capabilities and are paid very
Furthermore, there are no benefits added to such jobs. If they get suck,
for instance, they lose their jobs, there is no insurance.

Group 2 – Survival Strategies when violence occurs in workplaces

One example of where violence occurs is in factories, where many children
work and are exploited, for instance in the clothing industry.


- Such work affects children negatively and positively. Children will
react accordingly. If I see there is no benefit, the end result is in me dying,
because I would rather kill myself instead of dying trying to earn one cent
and being sexually abused, but that’s a negative effect.
- In positive way, I would contact authorities, but they do not
always listen to us.
Some children have had bad experiences with childlines, so would rather
go to religious places; mosques or churches, or form a support group, or
just quit the job, but how will you see the next day.


You have heard how we have been positively and negatively affected, we
hope that whatever you have heard, you can be able to act positively and
not negatively.

Group 3 – Recommendations: Violence in workplaces


- governments should provide legal assistance to children
- governments should pass tough sentences to those who abuse
- governments should implement tougher labour laws
- governments should agree on an age limit to work (often as
young as 13, 14, being allowed to work in places for older people )
- governments and NGOs should send children to school and out
of work
- governments should create awareness campaigns about rights,
knowledge will empower. We are all special and we should tell people
- children should be given a chance to go to training centers to
learn new skills
- convince victims to complain to relevant authorities or where
they can find help

Group 4 – Types of violence in homes, families and communities

Types of violence children face include physical, psychological, sexual
violence and other forms. Examples include:
- abuse by older citizens, sexual harassment, discrimination based
on race, religion or culture
- In the community, people abusing drugs treat children badly
when under the influence, they beat them
- In families, children suffer psychological, and moral violence, for
instance, fathers throw children out of their homes, sometimes children are
sent to the streets
- Sometimes parents are very old, cannot work, they are sick and
children have to go out and work
- Children are punished in the home, with bad words, or hitting
and beating
- Many fathers rape their children, some younger than 3 or 5
- There are gangs of children controlled by older people who use
children to rob people in houses

“To guarantee the rights of children is to promote peace”

Group 5 – Violence in homes, families and communities and how we as
children can try to solve this

Advice when violence happens in the community:

1. children should avoid going out at night, such as going to
2. children should avoid getting into trouble, to not get abused by
corporal punishment. Rights go with responsibilities, children should think
about the others, the way I am dressing, for instance.
3. Children should let people know about their lives. If my friend is
abused, I should tell people so that they should not be abused anymore
and they know where to go for help.
4. Children should be taught about violence in communities, if you
know it’s happening, it’s your responsibility to report it to authorities
5. When there are problems, children should go to NGOs

Advice when violence happens in the home, or is perpetrated by your own

1. Try to find someone u can trust, for instance a teacher or friend
2. Try to call a helpline
3. We as children should always depend on others, we can take
initiatives, report to authorities, have confidence in them
4. Communications in the family can be critical, maybe you are
being abused by your father and not telling your mother

Comment from audience: “Yes, we have responsibilities, but if you do a
mistake then get beaten up severely, should I put that aside and think it’s
discipline? It’s still abuse!

Response: “We are saying, use your rights, because many others don’t
have them, but use them well.”

Group 6 – Violence in homes, communities and families and how to deal
with this

Types of violence:

- In homes, it is mostly abuse against women and children.
- Teenage pregnancies
- Suicide
- Children prohibited from going to school
- Children are neglected, are not shown any attention or love


- Empower young people
- Adjust the constitution, and have stricter laws
- Seek for clarities for parents, where they can go to ask for help.
In some situations, children cannot talk about changes in their bodies,
such as early pregnancies
- Adults should show love to children and act as examples
because we learn from them
- Nations should join hands collectively and organise awareness
campaigns for children


Want to believe if we can unite and be one, we can eradicate violence
against young people. But we must be aware that success is not
something to wait for, we must go and seek for it.

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