n Child Abuse Research in South Africa - Prevention of youth violence - what is learned can be unlearned




The majority of young people in South Africa are repeatedly exposed to violence in their homes, at school, in the communities where they live, as well as in the media. The normalisation of violence has become embedded in many societies. Subsequently young people are more than likely to get caught up in the cycle of violence, as victims and often also perpetrators of violence. This article presents a theoretical and empirical analysis of the role that youth programmes can play in the prevention of youth violence and crime. An integrated theoretical approach was followed making use of Bandura's social learning theory of aggression and his social cognitive theory. A quantitative study, more specifically evaluation research, was used to assess the effectiveness of Khulisa Crime Prevention Initiative's Silence the Violence programme. Findings from the study established that this programme facilitates behaviour modification, thereby creating the opportunity for participants to learn alternative non-violent behaviour patterns. The article concludes with a discussion of operational challenges which hinders the implementation of youth violence prevention programmes.


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