Welcome to the RAPCAN website!

RAPCAN (Resources Aimed at the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect) works to promote the rights and protection of children in South Africa and the region. We are committed to ensuring that the protection (nurturance) and participation (autonomy) rights of children are realised, working within an advocacy framework towards the realisation of a prevention-oriented child protection system, gender equality and child participation. Our work is strengthened by strategic partnerships and the participation of children. We believe in respecting diversity, dignity and the equality of all people, and providing resources to support the testing of professional, high quality, evidence-informed programmes.

Strategic Objectives
To promote primary and secondary prevention in the child protection system

To promote children’s participation rights and to facilitate opportunities for children to influence decisions

To enable children to have insight of how their gender roles place them at risk of harm and to promote a culture of understanding and tolerance in relation to gender and sexual identity.

NEWS... Child Rights NGOs challenge successfully the constitutionality of law that criminalises teenage sex

The Teddy Bear Clinic Laws and Resources Aimed at the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (RAPCAN) say laws that make consensual sex between teenagers a crime are unconstitutional. 

The Sunday Independent, 6 Oct 2013: Families must tackle issue of adolescent sex

Mail & Guardian Online, 3 Oct 2013: Concourt slaps down 'unconstitutional' sections of Sexual Offences Act

PRESS CONFERENCE (27 May 2013) Constitutional Court to hear landmark case: A constitutional challenge to the criminalisation of consenting sexual activity between adolescents (PDF)


SABC News, 30 May 2013: Judgement reserved on child sex case

Mail & Guardian Online, 29 May 2013: Criminalising consensual teenage sex could violate rights

Cape Times, 27 May 2013 (PDF)

Cape Times, 25 April 2012 (PDF)

Cape Times, 24 November 2011 (PDF)


Mail & Guardian Online, 30 November 2010: Anomalies in Sexual Offences Act challenged

PRESS RELEASE (16 April 2013): Policy, budget for sexual offences in South Africa inadequate

Civil Society organisations who are part of the Shukumisa Campaign present to the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development on weak government response to sexual offences.

Policy, budget for sexual offences in South Africa inadequate (PDF)

LEARNING BRIEF... Children participating in school governance - an ongoing investigation

In this learning brief RAPCAN discusses our investigation into children participating in school governance. We specifically share our initial experiences doing research at the pilot school and with the principals of the entire sample. Although the final findings of the investigation is still forthcoming, the intricacies and process of doing research at public schools may be of interest. This RAPCAN work was supported by the DG Murray Trust.

LEARNING BRIEF... Corporal Punishment/Positive Discipline Key Messages

Corporal Punishment information updated for the Working Group on Positive Discipline. The information includes Frequently asked questions (FAQs)on the corporal punishment of children; What children say about corporal punishment.

Corporal Punishment/Positive Discipline Key Messages (PDF)

PRESS RELEASE (27 Feb 2013): NGOs watch to see if statements condemning violence against women are translated into rands and sense

The Shukumisa Campaign has urged Minister Pravin Gordhan to recognise demands for better services for rape survivors in South Africa ahead of the National Budget speech on Wednesday, 27 February.
Shukumisa Campaign Press Release: 27 Feb 2013 (PDF)

NOTICE: Prospective intern applications

Please note that RAPCAN does not have any vacancies for interns at this stage. All intern vacancies have been taken. We are therefore not accepting any further correspondence on this. We will indicate when we are able to resume accepting proposals from prospective interns for placement at RAPCAN. We wish you well with finding placement opportunities.

PRESS RELEASE... NGOs applaud the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development for their swift response to address the defects in the 2007 Sexual Offences Act and their call for further engagement around the Act (28 May 2012)

Shukumisa Campaign Press Release: 28 May 2012 (PDF)

Police need to be put in the hot seat on crimes against women and children: Shukumisa Campaign Press Release: 28 March 2011 (PDF)


NEWS... RAPCAN hosts a Round Table discussion on Prevention and Early Intervention: Recommendations for Practice

This round table held on 19-20 April 2012 brought together practitioners across the NGO, Government and academic fields to document lessons learnt and develop recommendations for practice. It was hosted by RAPCAN with support from UWC and DSD Western Cape.

The main objectives were:
• Orientate NGO and state practitioners and officials to the Department of Social Development Western Cape Prevention and Early intervention strategy within the Child Care and Protection programme.
• Introduce local and international practice models.
• To develop practice recommendations in the Western Cape

The presentations (for download in Powerpoint format) included:

Evidence-based approaches to preventing child maltreatment

A prevention approach to child maltreatment: A transformation imperative

CAP Children Are Precious: a community based model of child protection

Child Welfare South Africa: Prevention and Early Intervention Models

Child Maltreatment Prevention Readiness (CMPR) assessment: South Africa 2011

Isibindi: Strengthening Community Based Prevention and early intervention, a Child and Youth Care response

Draft Guidelines on the Principles and Core Elements for the design and development of Prevention and Early Intervention Programmes

Leliebloem House: Specialised Behaviour Management Programme

NEWS... RAPCAN celebrates 20-plus years of promoting children's rights!

The work of RAPCAN was covered in the Mail & Guardian of 20 November 2009 (pages 25-26) and commemorated this special event.

These articles share an overview of our work.

Taking over the reigns

Engaging the process

Getting schools on the team

Protecting the children

Going above and beyond legislation (PDF)

NEWS... RAPCAN releases domestic violence study

RAPCAN released its domestic violence study “Service responses to co-victimisation of mother and child: Missed opportunities in the prevention of domestic violence: Experiences from South Africa”. It has been shared with study respondents from Stellenbosch last week and with Cala, Eastern Cape respondents today. An advocacy process/launch for lobbying purposes is also being planned.

Service responses to co-victimisation of mother and child: Missed opportunities in the prevention of domestic violence: Experiences from South Africa (PDF)