Oversight Mechanism – Rights of Children in Secure Care Centres in South Africa

In June 2018 South Africa presented the numbers of children in detention in its response to the Global Study questionnaire. Among the numbers provided was the number of children in Secure Care Centres. This was significant because it was the first time that the number was captured in a manner that was comparable to other statistics, such as the number of children in prison.

The project’s main goal is to create a mechanism for independent oversight to reinforce the rights of children in secure care in South Africa, and which will be taken forward by the National Preventive Mechanism. This goal includes the following objectives:

  • Undertake a base-line study of the current Secure Care Centres, through visits to those centres and interviews with children and staff aimed at informing the independent oversight mechanism. At this stage of the project, the team has visited three out of nine centres, and has been interviewing children who are awaiting trial or sentenced, and also children who have been referred to undergo residential diversion programmes. Managers, social workers, child and youth care workers and other personnel have also been interviewed, in an attempt to obtain a comprehensive picture of the current situation.
  • The team’s base line study will result in a set of recommendations for systemic change, and where child rights violations are uncovered along the way, urgent engagement is being pursued to bring about change in the short term. The ultimate goal is to develop a model for oversight in these facilities.
  • Develop a plan for the management and care of children in secure care in situations of disaster/emergency, to be integrated into the oversight mechanism.

Project Contacts:

Karabo Ozah (karabo.ozah@up.ac.za) – University of Pretoria

Ann Skelton (ann.skelton@up.ac.za) – University of Pretoria

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *