Stricter booze laws ‘can make SA safer place for children’

Stricter booze laws ‘can make SA safer place for children’

As the government marks the end of Child Protection Week, the Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance in SA (SAAPA SA) believes stronger liquor legislation can make South Africa a safer place for children.

Child dragging her teddy bear / Pexels
Child dragging her teddy bear / Pexels

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) report has indicated how children were subjected to severe abuse under lockdown.

The Teddy Bear Foundation’s Dr Shaheda Omar says the organisation has observed at their clinics that there is a clear link between harmful drinking and the physical, emotional and sexual abuse of children.

“What we have experienced is that many children are deprived of basic care, like not receiving food, health care and education, due to excessive drinking on the part of their caregivers,” says Omar.

SAAPA SA Director Maurice Smithers says children should be protected from pressure through the advertising of alcohol and by those around them, that results in children consuming alcohol before they have reached the legal drinking age.

“We should acknowledge the link between the harmful use of alcohol by adults in the home and in the community and the physical and psychological abuse of children in our society and take the necessary steps to prevent this from happening.

“It is not enough to teach the youth not to drink. There also needs to be a change in South Africa’s drinking culture and how we normalise alcohol as something that is fun and aspirational, encouraging young people to assume that alcohol is a natural and necessary part of life.

“This is why SAAPA SA is calling for the passing of the Liquor Amendment Bill, which will go some way towards reducing the threat of alcohol harm to the health, safety and well-being of children,” says Smithers.


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