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Cablegate: South Africa's Child Abuse Registry Not yet Operational

P 041509Z DEC 08
FM AMCONSUL JOHANNESBURG
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6343
INFO AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN PRIORITY
AMCONSUL DURBAN PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY PRETORIA PRIORITY
AMCONSUL JOHANNESBURG

UNCLAS JOHANNESBURG 000194


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CVIS CASC KOCI CMGT
SUBJECT: SOUTH AFRICA'S CHILD ABUSE REGISTRY NOT YET OPERATIONAL

REF: STATE 121873

1. South Africa does not have a searchable registry or database
of substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect. In a
December 4, 2008, telcon, Selema Mashiane, a Social Worker in
the Child Protection Unit of the Department of Social
Development (DoSD), explained to Conoff that the DoSD was in the
process of developing such a registry in conjunction with the
Department of Justice and the South African Police Service. He
emphasized that this electronic registry would maintain an
active list of victims and convicted perpetrators of child
abuse. "The list will be searchable by social workers and those
working in child protection related agencies across South
Africa," according to Mashiane.

2. Although South Africa does not yet have a searchable
registry of substantiated cases of child abuse, the DoSD does
maintain an electronic database of children who have suffered
from child abuse. This registry is Microsoft Word-based and
uses an electronic form to capture the locations and names of
potentially abused children, their parents, and/or their
caretakers. The DoSD's Child Protection Unit started the
database in 2006 and has collected approximately 17,000 names to
date. Mashiane said that the DoSD's provincial offices provide
monthly updates to this national list, adding approximately
1,000 names to the list each month. DoSD system administrators
can search the 17,000-name list, but the names do not reflect
convictions or a list of perpetrators of child abuse/neglect.
Mashiane drew a clear distinction between the DoSD database in
existence and the searchable registry of child abuse that the
DoSD was currently developing with its partners to track child
abuse convictions.

PASSEN

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