Home is where the heart is! Many children in South Africa are being cheated of their childhood which should be a process of nurturing, enrichment, healthy growth and brain development.

I grew up in a home where my voice wasn’t heard. In a home where my growth and development were not factors to consider. Growing in such an environment meant that l became an angry adult. This resulted in me isolating myself from people and anything that said l had to be in crowd of some sort. All this happened because of the childhood traumas that made think l had no voice to be heard.

One might think it is only step parents that abuse children but l come bearing bad news – even biological parents can abuse their own children. This could be vocal, emotional or even physical abuse. According to the Optimus Study on Child Abuse, it is estimated that 42% of SA’s children have experienced some form of ill-treatment and 82% have either experienced or witnessed some of victimization.

Children experience abuse in places where they should feel safe to play and learn such as homes. In most cases the perpetrator is someone the child knows and trusts.

There are also children with no parents or guardians. In South Africa alone they are about 90 000 children in 50 000 child-headed households. These are children that are forced to become parents at an age where being nurtured and supported is still a need and a must have in order to make better life choices.

Safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments are essential to prevent early adversity these include child abuse and neglect, and to assure that all children reach their full potential.