Child Abuse Research in South Africa - Volume 14, Issue 2, 2013
Volume 14, Issue 2, 2013
Author Stephan S. TerblancheSource: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 14, pp 1 –7 (2013)More Less
The Child Justice Act 75 of 2008 establishes a separate criminal justice system for child offenders, which is mainly aimed at diverting child offenders from the formal criminal justice system. However, when diversion is not feasible, convicted child offenders have to be sentenced in child justice courts. This has to be done "in accordance with the provisions of the Act" (s 68). Sentence should be preceded by a pre-sentence report, subject to a few exceptions, which are briefly explained in this contribution. The main part of the article considers the basic principles of sentencing in terms of the Act, with specific emphasis on those principles which guide the discretion to impose imprisonment or an alternative sentence. Of particular importance in this respect is that imprisonment should only be imposed as last resort, and it inevitable, then for the shortest appropriate period. In contrast to adult offenders, the main aim in case of child offenders is to facilitate their reintegration into society, and to ensure that they accept responsibility through restorative justice programmes. The seriousness of the crime remains very important, but for the first time in our law it is related to the harm caused by the crime, and the offender's blameworthiness for that harm. All these considerations are noted, and some of the implications discussed in more detail in this article.
Education and well-being of orphans living in child and youth headed families in rural North-West ProvinceAuthor Mathildah Mokgatle-NthabuSource: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 14, pp 8 –18 (2013)More Less
Research and interventions for addressing challenges of child-headed families focus mostly on immediate solutions of child care, protection, placement, food supply and child support grants. There is little emphasis on holistic well-being in the context of health promotion, preventive health services, recreation and inclusive programs across the social spectrum.A grounded theory approach was used to develop a comprehensive framework which is intended to facilitate the educational well-being of orphans living in child- and youth-headed families. The framework was developed and is intended to be used within the context of the target population which is the child- and youth-headed families in of a rural village in North West Province in South Africa. The development of the framework was consequential to the lack of social networks, human capital and community care and support for orphans in the rural village which made the orphaned families vulnerable and desperate. The framework is meant to promote creation of systems that could facilitate development of social networks for child-headed families. These networks will improve access to services, assistance and possibly seal the cracks in the safety net for the orphaned families. A comprehensive framework which emerged from the data identifies the context of the families, experiences and phenomena based on the context, mitigating factors, strategies and outcomes. For ensuring that the intended outcomes are reached, a multi-level (individual, family, community, society) and multidisciplinary (education, agriculture, social development, health, arts and culture and justice) plan of implementation is developed and presented together with the framework.
Author Alex SpyrelisSource: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 14, pp 19 –25 (2013)More Less
Child maltreatment is a serious concern in South Africa and significantly undermines the development and wellbeing of children affected by it. This study aimed to explore the types of abuse that were reported for children brought to the Sunlight Safe House; an after-hours service for abused and abandoned children based in Johannesburg. The sample consisted of 1 461 cases opened at the Sunlight Safe House between January 2006 and June 2012 and included children from birth to 18 years of age. Demographic and circumstantial data were captured for each child as part of a monitoring exercise, and were then analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The results of the study indicated that more female children (55%) had been removed than males (45%), while the mean age for children was 6.1 years (SD = 5.1). Sixty-four per cent of cases involved child maltreatment, of which the most common type was neglect (36%). A chi-square test revealed a significant association between the sex of a child and the type of abuse reported (Χ24 = 93.509, p = 0.000); all but two of the sexual abuse cases involved female children. A significant association was also found between the age of children and type of abuse (Χ272 = 548.791, p = 0.000), with children under one year of age exhibiting the highest rates of abandonment, and children between the ages of one and three years exhibiting the highest rates of neglect.
Source: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 14, pp 26 –36 (2013)More Less
This article explores the effect of substances on family dynamics with specific reference to two in-depth, explorative case studies of substance affected families in Mitchells Plain. The family of a drug dependent parent faces economic problems, instability, and a lack of physical and emotional care. The children can expect limited care from a parent who cannot even provide for him/ herself. Substance abuse affects family relationships and causes a distortion of attitudes. The family life of the child in the drug dependent household may be characterised by an absence of money and a situation of continual neglect. Family involvement is often critical for the successful treatment of many substance-related disorders-most obviously in cases where elements of the family are inadvertently reinforcing or supporting the problem. Furthermore, contrary to popular opinion, many people with substance-related disorders maintain close ties with their families. Sometimes it is better to ensure that a parent with a substance misuse problem feels supported by the agency and that part of the work of the agency is to motivate the parent to seek help for a substance use problem. As always, the welfare of the children in these families is paramount and clinical sensitivity and common sense are essential.
Victim rights and minimum standards for the management of learner victims of sexual misconduct in South African schoolsAuthor Susan A. CoetzeeSource: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 14, pp 37 –48 (2013)More Less
Current education-specific law and policy do not provide clear guidelines for schools when it comes to adopting policy for managing learner victims of sexual misconduct. It is contended that these policies should be formulated in a manner that will guarantee compliance with international and national victims' rights and minimum standards because that would ensure more effective management of learner sexual misconduct victims. If minimum standards are not upheld, victims' rights are not observed, victims are not effectively managed and secondary victimisation results. The aim of this article is therefore to identify and explain victims' rights and the minimum standards that must be complied with so as to ensure that these rights are observed. For that purpose, education-specific law and policy regulating the management of learner victims of sexual misconduct were benchmarked against international and national victims' rights such as fair and dignified treatment, offering and receiving information, protection, assistance, compensation and restitution and the underlying minimum standards for managing victims. This enabled me to formulate guidelines on learner victims' rights and minimum standards that schools should include in their policies for managing learner victims of sexual misconduct.
An assessment of the efficacy of HIV Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) following childhood sexual assaultSource: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 14, pp 49 –55 (2013)More Less
South Africa is well known for both its high prevalence of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infections and high crime rates. The crimes against children include childhood sexual assault. In a setting where both conditions are common, childhood sexual assault becomes a risk factor for acquiring HIV infection. The objectives of this study were to define the proportion of children eligible for Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) following childhood sexual assault, to determine their compliance with the PEP regimen, to determine the rate of HIV seroconversion in children receiving PEP and to identify factors associated with HIV seroconversion. A retrospective chart review of 150 children presenting to Edendale and Greys hospitals in Pietermaritzburg following childhood sexual assault between 1 January and 30 June 2009 was undertaken. Children were considered eligible for PEP if they had a negative HIV baseline test at presentation, if they presented within 72 hours of sexual assault and the caregiver or child consented to PEP. Of the files 74 were complete, of those 4 children were excluded from the study as 3 had a positive HIV baseline test and 1 presented more than 72 hours post sexual assault. All 70 children had a workup for STI and were prescribed PEP for 4 weeks duration. Only 29 (41.4%) of the children attended the 1 week follow up visit and 22 (31.4%) the 3 months follow up visit at which all 22 had a negative HIV test. Although this was a small sample study, the results are in keeping with prior studies where PEP was found to be effective when given within 72 hours of sexual assault and also overall poor PEP compliance. In conclusion, in a setting where HIV prevalence is high PEP administration should be acceptable, feasible and cost effective.
Caregivers' experiences of the South African judicial system after the reporting of child sexual abuseAuthor Lizane WilsonSource: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 14, pp 56 –67 (2013)More Less
Child sexual abuse (CSA) is found to occur in alarming proportions worldwide. In South Africa, children represent almost half of the victims of known sexual abuse, and this is becoming a great concern even being described as silent epidemic. This research study serves as a qualitative exploration of caregivers' experiences of the South African judicial system after CSA has been reported. For the purpose of this study, the researcher used a descriptive qualitative research design so as to thoroughly describe the caregivers' experiences. From the empirical findings and the literature the researcher concluded that there is a general sense that CSA investigations are poorly conducted. The empirical findings indicated that caregivers of child victims of sexual abuse and their children have experienced great frustration when dealing with the judicial system after CSA had been reported. These frustrations were due to the investigation of CSA cases, the court process, and the lack of communication from prosecutors and other professionals in the judicial system. The findings are recommended to be used to inform and raise the awareness of social workers and other role-players working in the field of CSA about caregivers' experiences with the South African judicial system after CSA has been reported.
Source: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 14, pp 68 –80 (2013)More Less
The aim of this qualitative study was to explore the supportive needs of volunteers working with sexually abused children in Somerset West. Six participants working as volunteers at a specific organisation were recruited through purposive sampling. Data were obtained through group discussions and individual interviews, and were then thematically analysed. Various supportive needs were highlighted in the study. The volunteers expressed a need for appreciation, as well as a need for contact and better support. Although volunteers experienced support from significant others, they had concerns about this in relation to both themselves and their significant others. Volunteers reported developing various coping strategies, but highlighted the need for strategies to deal with anger. A sense of self-worth and appreciation was an important need that emerged in order for volunteers to feel motivated to continue working at the organisation. Recommendations are made for ways in which the organisation can meet the supportive needs of volunteers, the most imperative being that volunteers receive emotional support through supervision and debriefing.