The department of social development in the Eastern Cape has in the past two years recorded more than 600 cases of child abuse.
Speaking at the launch of Child Protection Week in Stutterheim yesterday, MEC Nancy Sihlwayi said statistics showed that disabled children were the most vulnerable.
Sihlwayi said the trends showed that disabled children were still shunned by communities.
“When our society is still grappling with the unprecedented incidents of child killings across the country, disabled children still suffer in silence.
“We need to provide an enforced frontline defence against child abuse,” said Sihlwayi.
Speaking at the launch of the Stutterheim-based Siyavuya Centre for Disabled Children, Zoleka July said protection for disabled children can only be achieved when disability is mainstreamed.
“Children deserve to be happy and protected, especially those with disabilities,” said July.
Child Protection Week is commemorated annually to raise public awareness about children’s rights.
Social development spokesperson Mzukisi Solani said Sihlwayi had identified Stutterheim as a relevant place to launch the campaign against child abuse and killings.
“Stutterheim was chosen because the country, and the Eastern Cape in particular, has experienced a sudden surge in reports of child abuse and killings in the recent past.”