As children, it is important to know your rights and responsibilities and be aware that there are measures put in place to assist you once your rights have been violated.
The Child Care and Protection Act No 3 of 2015; calls for the appointment of a Children’s Advocate. The Children’s Advocate is located in the Office of the Ombudsman and focuses on issues pertaining to children’s rights.
The Children’s Advocate is there to represent and defend the rights of children in Namibia. Advocate Heather Harker was appointed as the Children’s Advocate on 1 October 2022. The Children’s Advocate is assisted in her duties by a social worker and two legal officers.
- Investigates complaints about the services provided to children under the laws of the Namibian constitution.
- Investigates incidences of violation of children’s rights.
- Monitors the implementation of the Child Care and Protection Act and other laws relating to children.
- Raises awareness on the Child Care and Protection Act and on issues pertaining to children’s rights and responsibilities in general.
Children are welcome to approach the Children’s Advocate, teachers, caretakers, family members or other community members can also approach us on behalf of children. You do not have to be related to a child in order to approach the children’s Advocate with a complaint or enquiry.
You can lay a complaint by visiting the Office,
- Telephonically- 061 207 3111
- Email- firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook inbox- Office of the Ombudsman Namibia
- SMS- 20401
- You can lodge a complaint online
The Children’s Advocate resolves complaints through consultations with stakeholders and experts; the aim is to avoid conflict as much as possible and to resolve an issue in the best interest of the child. The services of the Children’s Advocate are free of charge and cases are treated with the utmost discretion and confidentiality.
Children’s Rights case summaries
Below are examples of actual cases investigated by the Children’s Advocate
A minor’s mother alleged that she had a pending custody application in the children’s court and that the matter has not been brought to finality. Our inquiries revealed that the court commissioned a second social worker report as the initial information did not contain the stepfather’s version of an allegation of abuse against him. The second report was requested in January 2021 and was only provided to the court in August of the same year for hearing dates for the custody application. The complainant informed us that she did not have the funds to continue paying for a lawyer.
We informed her that she could request that the matter be referred to the social workers for mediation and/or the drafting of a parenting plan, as she no longer had objections to the father retaining custody and her being granted reasonable access to the concerned child. She made the suggestion to the father that the matter is mediated by the social workers, for his consideration. The father agreed and the matter was resolved.