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Email Petition Against the Closure of South African Child Protection Unit

Summary:
Email petition claims that South Africa's Child Protection Unit is to be closed and urges recipients to "sign" a message protesting the closure before sending it to others.

Status:
False

Update:
Around October 2007, a new, and equally false version of the petition began circulating that included graphic images of a decapitated child.

Example:(Submitted, October 2007)
The attached photos are VERY GRAPHIC. They are photos of a little boy that has been killed and decapitated.

Please DON'T open the attachment if you are sensitive. It is VERY UPSETTING . But it is important to sign this and pass it on. AGAIN, the photos are VERY DISTURBING, please rather don't open them if you think you won't be able to handle it.


If you are sensitive about this kind of thing please don?t open the attachments. For those of you who don?t believe that we don?t have to do something about crime in this country Then these are for you. While they are extremely disturbing, please be aware that I forward this email to you As my conscience will not allow me to look the other way. Please help support this initiative.

We need everybody we can find!

Over the last few weeks in South Africa, a two year old was abducted from her crèche and raped and left in the bush, where she was found crawling around and crying, by an old woman, two hours after her abduction. Another child in a pre-primary school was molested, and the authorities have done nothing. We have all heard the story of Sheldean Human who was abducted and brutally murdered close to her home.

A while ago a 3 year old girl was beaten and raped. She is still alive. The man responsible was released on bail. He is walking the streets.

If you are too busy to read this then just sign your name and forward this on. The government is planning to close the child protection unit and this is a petition against it. This is a very important petition. It is an essential part of the justice system for children.

You may have already heard that there's a myth in South Africa that having sex with a virgin will cure AIDS. The younger the virgin, the more potent the cure. This has led to an epidemic of rapes by infected males, with the correspondent infection of innocent kids. Many have died in these cruel rapes.

Recently in Cape Town , a 9-month-old baby was raped by 6 men. Please think about that for a moment. The child abuse situation is now reaching catastrophic proportions and if we don't do something, then who will? Kindly add your name to the bottom of the list and please pass this on to as many people as you know.

If you are signature no.: 500 - please forward the mail-list to childprotectpca@saps.org.za

Please don't be complacent, do something about the kids of South Africa . You can make a difference. This is just one of the million cases of child abuse, so please pledge your support and help keep CPU (CHILD PROTECTION UNIT) open. Please give your support to the petition and ensure that it goes to as many people as possible. Please don't just leave it, make a difference. In order to write your name copy this message and paste it in a new mail (compose). Or click on forward and add your name to the list and send it on to others. All these losers must get the death penalty

Again, if you are number 500 please send this to childprotectpca@saps.org.za

[Long list of names and general locations removed]

NOTE: The email comes with very disturbing images of a decapitated child. Due to the extremely graphic nature of these images, they have not been included


Example:(Submitted, July 2006)
Subject: FW: Child protection unit

Last week a 3 year old girl (in South Africa) was beaten and raped. She is still alive. The man responsible was released on bail yesterday. He is walking the streets. If you are too busy to read this then just sign your name and forward this on.

The Government is planning to close the child protection unit and this is a petition against it. This is a very important petition. It is an essential part of the justice system for children. You may have already heard that there's a myth in South Africa that having sex with a virgin will cure AIDS. The younger the virgin, the more potent the cure. This has led to an epidemic of rapes by infected males, with the correspondent infection of innocent kids.

Many have died in these cruel rapes.

Recently in Cape Town, a 9-month-old baby was raped by 6 men. Please think about that for a moment. The child abuse situation is now reaching catastrophic proportions and if we don't do something, then who will? Kindly add your name to the bottom of the list and please pass this on to as many people as you know.

If you are signature no.: 120 - please forward the mail-list to
childprotectpca@saps.org.za

Please don't be complacent, do something about the kids of South Africa. You can make a difference. That child is fighting for life. This is just 1 of the million cases of child abuse, so please pledge your support and help keep CPU (CHILD PROTECTION UNIT) open.

Please give your support to the petition and ensure that it goes to as many people as possible.

Please don't just leave it, make a difference. In order to write your name copy this message and paste it in a new mail (compose). Or click on forward and add your name to the list and send it on to others.

Again, if you are number 120 please send this to
childprotectpca@saps.org.za.

[List of names and general locations removed]


Commentary:

©iStockphoto.com/digitalskillet

Young Child
The South African Child Protection Unit is NOT about to be closed down and signing an email petition to keep it open is utterly pointless
This long running email petition claims that the South African Government is planning to close the country's Child Protection Unit. The message urges the recipient to "sign" and re-post the petition in order to help pressure the South African Government into keeping the Child Protection Unit open.

However, the claim that the Child Protection Unit is going to be closed is completely untrue. In 1995 the scope of the original Child Protection Unit (CPU) was expanded and it became know as the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit (FCS). This protest message apparently began circulating around the same time, perhaps due to a fundamental misunderstanding regarding the unit's name change. The South African Police Service (SAPS) has repeatedly denounced the message as a hoax. In August 2005, SAPS released a media statement denying the rumour.

In 2007, a new version of the petition email began circulating that included images of the decapitated body of an unknown child, apparently to shock recipients into "signing" the petition. The same photographs also circulate in an unrelated email with the caption "Mother eats her own kid". South African police were again forced to dismiss the story as a hoax after the new version began circulating far and wide. On October 27, SAPS released the following statement on the issue:

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE OFFICE OF THE DIVISIONAL COMMISSIONER: DETECTIVE SERVICE, SOUTH AFRICAN POLICE SERVICE, DIVISIONAL COMMISSIONER JOHAN DE BEER

Pretoria 24 October 2007


Hoax e-mails relating to the closure of the "Child Protection Units", cases of kidnapping, rape, HIV/Aids, etc, have been circulating since 1995. The main and only aspect which has changed over the years, is the severity of the false information. The latest hoax email (2007) contains disturbing photographs of an the body of unknown decapitated boy.

In these e-mails, persons are requested to add their name to a list and then submit it to the SA Police Service (childprotectpca@saps.org.za). This e-mail address does not exist within the South African Police Service (SAPS).

The South African Police Service does not have any involvement in the compilation or distribution of these hoax e-mails and distances itself from these hoax e-mails.

Thousands of these hoax e-mail lists are forwarded to various sections within the SA Police Service, especially the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit. This results in a waste of valuable time which could be utilized to attend to serious and urgent matters.

People are requested:

NOT to become part of this scam

NOT to forward the hoax -emails to friends, family, etc

NOT to forward the hoax-emails to the South African Police Service

The protection of children is a priority area of the South African Police Service . The first Child Protection Unit (CPU) was already established in 1986 due to this.

Due to several factors, it was decided to extend the sensitive service which was provided to child victims, to adult victims of sexual offences. This led to the establishment of the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit (FCS). The FCS still provides the same service to children. The Child Protection Units are transformed into Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Units.

Thus, signing this misguided email petition is pointless and will do nothing to help South African children. In fact, as the SAPS statement above points out, forwarding the message may even add to the problem by wasting the time of police staff obligated to answer questions about the supposed closure of the unit.

Even if the claims in the message were true, an email petition of this nature is quite unlikely to achieve positive results. There are serious problems with email-based petitions that can render them almost useless and there are far more potent ways to support a cause that you believe in.

As stated, the claim in the message that the CPU is to be closed is unfounded. Sadly, however, the myth that sex with a virgin will cure AIDS really does exist in Africa. This sickening and vile myth may be at least partially to blame for South Africa's extremely high incidence of child rape. Such myths are not new nor are they confined to the African continent. The myth is also common in other developing nations with high rates of HIV infection. In 19th century England, many men believed that having sex with a virgin could cure venereal diseases such as syphilis.

South Africa is a nation plagued by violent crime, a severe and ongoing HIV epidemic, and complex social problems. As in other parts of the world, children are too often the innocent victims of these far-reaching problems. However, forwarding a pointless and inaccurate email petition will do nothing whatsoever to address these terrible problems. This message has now been circulating around the Internet for more than a decade, fruitlessly collecting names for no good purpose and its demise is way overdue. Please do not forward the message to others.

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References:
Hoax E-mail: Closure of the 'Child Protection Units' FAMILY VIOLENCE, CHILD PROTECTION AND SEXUAL OFFENCES UNIT (FCS)
HOAX E-MAIL THAT THE CHILD PROTECTION UNITS WILL CLOSE DOWN
Are Email Petitions Useful?
The Relation between HIV Prevalence and Virgin Rape
HIV/AIDS, the stats, the virgin cure and infant rape

Last updated: 1st November, 2007
First published: 27th July, 2006

Write-up by Brett M.Christensen