SIHMA | Scalabrini Institute For Human Mobility In Africa

The African Regional Child Trauma Conference

Re-rooting Africa: Africa’s Routes to preventing & responding to child abuse, violence, & neglect

From the 18th to the 21st of August the Cape Town City Hall saw the coming together of government representatives, psychologists, social workers, researchers, practitioners from child and youth development field come together and share best practices and knowledge concerning building effective strategies and implement impactful interventions to counter the ongoing rights violation against children.

The Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town, supported by SIHMA, was represented by advocacy officer Mrs Sindiswe Moyo and Lawrence House manager Mrs Giulia Treves who presented on the topic “Children, migration and the law: unaccompanied and separated foreign children in South Africa – a presentation and reflection on their particular protection and care needs”.

Their presentation focused on the challenges faced by unaccompanied and separated foreign minors placed in alternative care. Mrs Moyo shared the findings of a survey conducted by the Scalabrini Centre conducted in Gauteng and Limpopo provinces. It was found that one of the main challenges that these children face is a lack of identification documentation and appropriate legal status. Without valid legal status it is becoming more challenging for unaccompanied and separated children to access services especially access to education. Documentation is central to an individual’s ability to exercise basic human rights. Mrs Treves highlighted that an often under estimated and insufficiently considered aspect of the challenges faced by migrant children and youth is that of the impact of trauma on their development and more general the incidence of mental health conditions in these young people. As a residential service, Lawrence House is well aware of complex realities lived by these young people who have experienced loss, abandonment and violence. For many young people with migration-related experience in South Africa, their sense of self, their history and identity has been dislocated from the bonds, ties and reference points that positioned them in their society.

Their presentation raised awareness on the particular vulnerability of migrant children and offered conference participants ideas on best practices.

The Conference concluded with the signing of a Charter “Leaving no Child behind – Ending Violence Against Children in Africa” which will be presented to the United Nations Secretary General and General Assembly by way of elevating the rights of the African child in the global discourse.

In support of the Charter a petition has been launched by Jelly Beanz, one of the main organisers of the Conference; #Support The End Of Child Violence In Africa can be supported on


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