Signing Safe Futures South Africa!

6th June 2016

Photograph of stacks of decision docketsWith our partners Childline South Africa, Child Helpline International and the UK Police Link Officer for the Deaf scheme, we’ve commenced a two year development / pilot activity aimed at establishing Africa’s first dedicated helpline capacity for responding to the protection needs of D/deaf children and young people.

Funded by Comic Relief, this progressive work sees the training and deployment of a dedicated D/deaf aware staff team within Childline South Africa. It addition, it will see the development, trialling and evaluation of an innovative new Video Relay service so that D/deaf children and young people may access ready online Childline counselling support, in the communication mode of choice; be it sign language, sign supported spoken language or community-sign. Furthermore, UK Police will work with the South African Police to establish a local Police Link capacity which will respond appropriately to disclosure by D/deaf children, as and when it occurs, so that the best care and support can be made available to them and their families.

This is a sizable initiative and one that will deliver a global impact, making a difference to the lives of thousands. From these beginnings, DeafKidz International will work to develop a Video Relay practice and methodology, which will transform the way that Child Helplines interact with D/deaf children and young people. Such that in 10 years time; every D/deaf child will be able to access Helpline support, wherever they are and whatever the issue. Job done!

For now, we’re building the service architecture, collaborating closely with the likes of EPCAT Luxembourg – to ensure we’ve got the language & terminology of abuse right; Childline’s Kenya and Zimbabwe – to where cascade will occur once South Africa is proven; technical Video Relay providers in the US – to ensure we have an operating platform that is robust and capable. Over and above all of this, we’re working to ensure our service design reflects the protocols of the WHO’s End Violence initiative and UNICEF’s Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children. We’re looking to demonstrate that through the assembly of powerful partnerships and through auspicious programme design, the protection needs of D/deaf children and young people can, indeed, be realised and their susceptibility to the risk of violence, mitigated.

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