Child Abuse Research in South Africa - Volume 15, Issue 1, 2014
Volume 15, Issue 1, 2014
Interpersonal developmental trauma as a risk factor for suicidality in a non-clinical sample of South African youthSource: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 15, pp 1 –8 (2014)More Less
The relationship between interpersonal developmental trauma and adolescent suicidality (suicidal ideation and suicidal attempts) was examined in a cross sectional survey of 720 adolescents attending a secondary school in Durban, South Africa. After controlling for the effects of demographic and family background variables, domestic forms of physical abuse and neglect emerged as the only forms of child maltreatment which accounted for a significant proportion of the variance in adolescent suicidal ideation; with domestic neglect emerging as the only form of child maltreatment which accounted for a significant proportion of the variance in non-fatal suicidal behaviour. These findings are discussed in terms of their implications for future research.
Source: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 15, pp 9 –14 (2014)More Less
International research suggests that the development a profile for a sex offender is often difficult as they are a heterogeneous group with a common feature of deviant sexual behaviour. Whether this is similar in South Africa, remains unexplored. The current study aimed to examine the prevalent characteristics of sex offenders who participated in a community-based treatment programme in the Western Cape, South Africa, over a 20-year period (1993-2013). This study was a descriptive study using a retrospective archival research design by using patient records of sex offenders who entered a community-based programme. The final sample was 230 males, with a mean age of 41 (SD = 13.07) years, the majority of whom were married [118 (51%)], were employed [179 (77.8%)] and lived with a spouse and/or partner [113 (49%)]. The results suggest the victims were known to the perpetrators, had been exposed to domestic violence in the family of origin, had a long term separation from their parents, had a negative relationship with the mother and had been raised by a single parent. Furthermore they had not previously been juvenile offenders, had not been diagnosed with a disorder, nor used drugs but used alcohol and had multiple victims. The results of this study have implications for prevention and intervention strategies.
Source: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 15, pp 15 –28 (2014)More Less
This study formed part of a larger research project, which aimed to develop an intervention strategy to support sexually abused boys in their middle childhood placed in a clinic school. The experiences of these boys were explored in this study. For the purpose of this study seven sexually abused boys in their middle childhood (9-12 years) placed in two clinic schools in Gauteng fitted the criteria for inclusion in the study and were selected through purposive sampling. Data were obtained through four in-depth interviews with each participant. These data were then thematically analysed. From the results it was clear that sexually abused boys placed in clinic schools exhibit intensified emotional reactions, as well as certain problems associated with male child sexual abuse. The intensified emotional reactions included a deep sense of sadness and helplessness, a sense of guilt and shame, a sense of dissociation and numbness, avoidance of situations associated with male child sexual abuse, fear of recurring incidents and the re-experiencing of the trauma. The problems associated with male child sexual abuse included concerns regarding own sexuality, difficulties in interacting with other people, dealing with anger and aggression, displaying self-destructive behaviour and difficulties to cope with schoolwork.
Source: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 15, pp 29 –38 (2014)More Less
Cyber stalking is a complex phenomenon which is a dangerous and harmful consequence of modern society's participation and interaction with cyber technology and the Internet. Cyber stalking occurs when a person is persistently pursued online through electronic technology such as the Internet in an unsolicited fashion which may result in serious physical, emotional and psychological consequences for the victim. Although every age group is vulnerable to becoming a victim of cyber stalking, this paper specifically focuses on the victimisation of young people. In a national survey the Youth Research Unit (YRU) of the Bureau of Market Research of the University of South Africa (UNISA) (cf. Basson,Van Aardt, & Tustin 2011) established that 15 per cent of young respondents felt threatened by online harassment, of which the majority were 16 to18 year old. Cyber stalkers can easily obtain their victims' contact information and track their activity. They can also install a system which allows them to be alerted whenever their prey is online. Once this link is established it opens doors to various opportunities to bombard their victims with spam, subscribe them to mailing lists, free offers, pornographic web sites and even sexual intimidation as it potentially exposes the victims thereof to sexual denigration, exploitation or subordination. Through social networking technology, a social, collaborative and interactive podium has been created for Internet users to interact and communicate with each other by creating online profiles. As social networks advance and expand, so too, does the level and intensity of socialisation among Internet users. Users tend to become more open and candid, even desensitised, when expressing their personal thoughts and sharing information and thus become vulnerable to Internet violations. Younger people especially, are vulnerable to cyber stalking. It follows that prevention strategies aimed at the younger generation should be emphasised. In this regard, it seems as if education and awareness are a young person's best defence against cyber stalking. It is the aim of this article to provide guidelines in terms of addressing cyber-stalking involving young persons.
Defining the phrase: "undue mental stress and suffering" in terms of section 170A of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977Author Mildred BekinkSource: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 15, pp 39 –47 (2014)More Less
Contemporary research studies conducted on the victimisation of children in South Africa show that South African children in particular endure and witness exceptionally high levels of crime. As a result, children with increasing frequency, have to appear in court as victim or witnesses that have to testify about these crimes. This not a simple process for children as, they are by their very nature ill-equipped to deal with the confrontational and adversarial court setting. In an attempt to shield these children from the trauma, stress and suffering when having to testifying in the presence of an accused, the function/persona of an intermediary was introduced with the insertion of section 170A into the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977. Section 170A(1) of the Act provides that whenever criminal proceedings are pending before any court and it appears to such court that it would expose any witness under the biological or mental age of eighteen years to undue mental stress or suffering if he or she testifies at such proceeding, the court may appoint an intermediary in order to enable such witness to give his or her evidence through that intermediary.
Before an intermediary will be appointed a court has to decide whether a child will be exposed to "undue mental stress and suffering." The aforementioned phrase is however not defined in the Act nor has any guidelines been laid down. The absence of a clear definition is problematic as it may lead to inconsistent application and consequential injustices. It is hence the focus of this article to assess and to provide guidelines as to what is meant by the words "undue mental stress or suffering" in accordance with the provisions of the Act. Possible guidelines to assist the courts in determining the meaning as well as the position in foreign systems are also considered.
Source: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 15, pp 48 –60 (2014)More Less
Sexual abuse is a phenomenon with far-reaching effects. This article will provide a holistic look at the effects of sexual abuse from an ecological systems perspective. The effect of sexual abuse on the child as the focus of the microsystem will be highlighted, as well as the effects on the parents or the child's caregiver as the meso system. The authors will attempt to highlight the interactive dynamics between the different systems and will explain how each system can contribute to either mitigating or exacerbating the effects of abuse on the child.
Modus operandi, signature and fantasy as distinctive behaviour : fundamental considerations in the case linkage of child rape casesSource: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 15, pp 61 –72 (2014)More Less
This article explores the intricacies of modus operandi, signature and fantasy as distinctive behaviour in stranger rape cases involving child victims that were reported in Port Elizabeth, which were analysed by means of a rape matrix. The authors identified distinctive behaviour of offenders in two possible rape series' involving child victims. Consequently, the authors probe whether a more comprehensive investigation, which reflects an understanding of modus operandi, signature and fantasy behaviour, could have determined if both rape series were perpetrated by the same offender. The article, furthermore, explores examples of reported cases to illustrate how modus operandi, signature or fantasy can manifest amongst offenders, and, should this behaviour recur in a subsequent case, could be indicative of the same offender committing the crime. The findings suggest that the presence of these distinct behaviours in conjunction with aspects such as the geographic location and time of the rapes could be indicative of serial rape activity. The results obtained from the child rape cases in this study contribute to a practical understanding of how distinctive behaviour, indicative of serial rape activity, can be identified by practitioners, who provide response and investigative service to sexually abused children in a professional capacity, such as police officials, social workers and psychologists.
Development of a family functioning scale for the South African context : the substantive validity phaseSource: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 15, pp 73 –82 (2014)More Less
The assessment of family functioning in child maltreatment prevention has led to a renewed emphasis on measures that are suitable for the assessment of this construct across contexts. Existing measures, predominantly developed and validated in Western countries, do not consistently conform to the South African context, which is typified by a range of family structures. In the absence of a suitable family assessment instrument applicable for use in low-income South African settings and drawing on existing measures, the study that is reported aimed to develop and validate a standardised family functioning scale for administration to families with children aged 0-7 years. Specifically, this article reports on the substantive validity phase of developing the Family Functioning Scale (FFS). Obtaining from a preceding critical review of indices, the study process involved the conceptualisation and operationalisation of the construct of family functioning, item generation, and item refinement. The study represents an essential step in establishing the construct validity of the FFS. It is envisaged that the validated version of the FFS will contribute to the identification of risk and protective factors for child maltreatment in low-income neighbourhoods in South Africa, and the formulation of preventative interventions.