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We are an organization of committed and passionate parents with deaf children. Our mission is to provide foundational support and empowerment to all parents in South Africa walking our same path and enable them to nurture the full flourishing of their unique children.

We know that a key predictor of the outcome of a deaf child is parent involvement; regardless of economic background, or communication choices. Thrive’s primary aim is to provide the information and encouragement to parents to enable them to self-advocate and self-empower and become involved members of their child’s life. An expertise that often goes unrecognized.

One of our strategic focus areas is that of child Safeguarding. South Africa has one of the highest incidents of violence and sexual abuse in the world. There is inadequate data to quantify the exact extent of the prevalence of abuse in South Africa but it is without doubt that the children of our land and amongst the most vulnerable. The first national prevalence study was performed in 2016 and revealed that, in South Africa, 1 in 3 children are victims of sexual violence and physical abuse; other studies done at a community level suggest that these results are significantly understated. We also know that our social work and criminal justice systems are severely resource constrained, leading to a very low rates of prosecution as well as cross-referral to therapeutic services.

Little research has been conducted along these lines with deaf children specifically. There are multiple factors making deaf children more vulnerable to abuse than hearing children, one of the significant factors is that deaf children do not benefit from incidental learning (this is what we learn indirectly through overhearing, TV, radio etc. – it is estimated that 80% of what we know is learnt incidentally). Since deaf children do not gain information this way, their world knowledge is restricted which impacts their safety substantially. There are additionally immense barriers in reporting abuse and receiving therapeutic help. Studies in America indicate that deaf children face chances of sexual abuse 2-3 higher than hearing children and this number could be much higher in South Africa.

We recognise that the prevalence of hearing loss lies dominantly in the previously disadvantaged population group and also that deaf children face extreme discrimination in our society. This means that deaf children in South Africa and amongst the most marginalised and vulnerable of all our children.

The deaf children in South Africa face a safeguarding emergency; a situation of extreme vulnerability. Despite the growing evidence and recognition of the severity of the state of child safety and protection in South Africa, there is not enough focus on equipping children with safeguarding skills: being aware, recognising risks, setting boundaries, knowing how to speak up, telling a trusted adult, building respectful relationships etc.

Parents who face a safeguarding emergency or are concerned about a family membr or a child in their community often do not know where to turn and how to best take action.

This page aims to provide multiple resources for parents, professionals or concerned citizens. It is a safe space where all those vested in the flourishing of deaf children, and their safety can work together, share ideas and find answers.

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Visit our document library that covers many issues around safeguarding.


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