Child Abuse Research in South Africa - Volume 14, Issue 1, 2013
Volume 14, Issue 1, 2013
Source: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 14, pp 1 –13 (2013)More Less
Many communities in South Africa are exposed to continuous adversity in the form of poverty, malnutrition, violence, crime, overcrowding, neglect and oppression. Continuous exposure to adverse living conditions can have a negative impact on a child's development. This study was undertaken in an attempt to understand the classroom behaviour of children who live in conditions of adversity. The effects that adversity could have on children's classroom behaviour, and thus also on their academic performance, their emotional states and their interactions with peers, were explored. A bio-ecological theoretical framework was employed to inform the meaning-making of the findings. This study was undertaken within an interpretive paradigm, using a qualitative methodology in gathering the data. The data was analysed using a constant comparative method in order to reach an understanding of it. The research findings indicate that most of the participants displayed inappropriate classroom behaviour, which included poor academic performance, withdrawal types of behaviour as well as externalising disruptive behaviour, such as aggressive interaction with the teacher and their peers. The participants also presented with some physical complaints that could be interpreted as traumatic symptomatology, and they reported negative emotional experiences, which include anger, sadness and anxiety. Contextual factors that contributed to the findings are reported. It is recommended that teachers are enabled through in-service training aimed at developing deeper understandings of troublesome classroom behaviour.
Intimate partner violence, mental problems and behavioural problems among pre-school children in Vhembe district, South AfricaSource: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 14, pp 14 –21 (2013)More Less
The aim of this study was to assess intimate partner violence, mental problems and behavioural problems among 1.5 to 5 year old children in South Africa. In all 268 women (18 years and older), of which 86 with a pre-school child, consecutively receiving a protection order in the Vhembe district in South Africa were assessed by an external interviewer. Results indicate a prevalence of clinically relevant internalising, externalising and total behaviour problem scores of 16.3%, 14.0% and 13.3% among pre-school children. The intimate partner violence type sexual violence was positively correlated with all child behaviour outcomes (internalizing, Externalising, and Total problems). Intimate partner psychological abuse and physical violence as well as maternal PTSD and depressive symptoms did not relate to child behaviour. It is recommended to inform mothers of the potentially negative effects of intimate partner violence on their child's behaviour, followed with appropriate referrals.
'Father to sue education department over rape' - civil remedies for sexual violence and harassment in public schoolsAuthor Annamagriet De WetSource: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 14, pp 22 –35 (2013)More Less
In the light of the matter reported by Samodien (2012) where a father intends to sue the Department of Education for damages incurred by his child who was raped at school, this article focuses on the duty of educators and schools to take measures to prevent and deal with sexual harassment and violence in schools. Sexual harassment and violence is conceptualised by drawing from definitions of sexual harassment and violence as well as those pertaining to sexual offenses. The duties of schools, school governing bodies, school principals and educators are outlined within the parameters of the Bill of Rights, education-specific legislation and policy as well as common law. The possibility of civil remedies for victims who have been subjected to sexual harassment and violence at school is investigated. Five requirements for delictual liability (damage, an act, unlawfulness, fault and causation) are used to demonstrate how the criteria for awarding damages may be met when learners approach the courts for civil remedies.
Mental health status and gang membership as attributes of child neglect and abuse amongst young persons at riskAuthor Johan PrinslooSource: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 14, pp 36 –45 (2013)More Less
The concept of "contextual causality" is explored from a youth perspective in terms of gangs and mental health disorders in general. While juvenile street gangs serve as an avenue for the youth from disadvantaged communities to find expression in anti-social activity, drugs, abuse and violence which manifests especially amongst children who do poorly in school, display disruptive behaviour, are in conflict with their peers, have abusive parents and attend schools that cannot control disruptive and violent behaviour. Street gangs of this nature are often serving as feeding sources to prison gangs. The reason for such behaviour is often organic in nature in the form of mental health disorders. The identification of persons suffering from mental health disorders and adequate mental health care are strategic concerns for crime reduction initiatives generally. Poor mental health is internationally more prevalent amongst young offenders who are more likely to be suffering from mental health disorders. This article reports on a comparative analysis of data collected from of a sample of offenders in a South African correctional centre. Of the 236 research participants who agreed to take part in the research, 102 (43,2%) were diagnosed with mental health disorders. A significant association between mental illness and the incidence of violence as well as between mental illness and gang involvement emerged from the results.
Source: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 14, pp 46 –54 (2013)More Less
A qualitative research methodology and case-study design was used in this investigation of the subjective experiences of adolescent learners at risk of dropping out of school during the post-compulsory phase of their education at a specific school in the Western Cape. Results that emerged from this study indicated that the participants experienced several barriers to learning embedded within interconnected systems, which placed them at risk of dropping out of school. These barriers included the following: single-parent families, family conflict, lack of parental support, emotional challenges due to unfavourable home circumstances and substance (ab)use. The practical implications of the results are that, in order to support at-risk adolescents in a high-risk environment and to prevent them from dropping out of school, the focus should be on systemic protective factors.
Author Mariana De JagerSource: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 14, pp 55 –66 (2013)More Less
Children react differently to the traumatic experience of sexual abuse. Some children develop symptomatic behaviours associated with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, such as apathy, which may be misinterpreted as desensitisation. Others appear less affected by the sexual abuse and may be regarded as desensitised and possessing resilience. Incongruence thus exists, as the one may be taken incorrectly for the other.
This study has explored caregivers' perceptions of desensitisation among the children in their care who had been sexually abused in the past. The study is explorative and descriptive in nature and grounded in a qualitative design. Purposive sampling was used to form three focus groups (17 participants). Data collection took place by means of focus groups with the aid of an interview guide. Collected data was transcribed and subjected to thematic analysis. The findings were written up, presented and discussed. The findings are recommended to be used to inform social workers and other members of the helping professions on how to approach and interact in the future with caregivers of sexually abused children.
Source: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 14, pp 67 –81 (2013)More Less
Obesity has become a global pandemic that not only affects adults, but also children and adolescents. It has been found that obesity among children and adolescents has emotional, social, physical and psychological ramifications, one of which is bullying. Very little has been written on the effects obesity in adolescence has on bullying behaviour in a South African context. For this reason the researchers deemed it necessary to study the perceptions of adolescents with regard to obesity (body shape) and bullying. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 35 early adolescents. The data were assessed through content and interpretative phenomenological analysis. Thus the researchers tried to capture the essence of each individual interview. Several themes emerged from the data analysis, of which the most noteworthy were that youths in early adolescence perceive emotional, psychological, physical and verbal attacks as well as exclusion from peer group activities as forms of bullying. Participants perceived several consequences of bullying manifesting in their peers' behaviour. From the semi-structured interviews a general overview of perpetrators and victims of bullying was obtained. Lastly, a correlation between an early adolescent's body shape and victimisation was noted. The findings give insight into how obese young adolescents are perceived and treated by their peers. Furthermore, the findings elucidate what adolescents perceive as bullying and possible reasons for such behaviour. By identifying perceptions held by adolescents, future research can implement programmes to address these stereotypes, thus decreasing victimisation of obese adolescents.
Author Tawanda MasukaSource: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 14, pp 82 –88 (2013)More Less
This article focuses on how poverty has contributed to the unfortunate situation of abuse of children in Zimbabwe. The abuse of children has taken the form of trampling upon their fundamental rights as enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children (UNCRC) and the African Charter on the Rights of the Child. Forms of abuse which are prevalent include sexual, emotional, neglect and child labour. It also examines the social workers roles in addressing child abuse. The article recommends mainstreaming child abuse in poverty alleviation programmes as a way of tackling child abuse.