Child Abuse Research in South Africa - Volume 16, Issue 2, 2015
Volume 16, Issue 2, 2015
Source: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 16, pp 64 –77 (2015)More Less
While society continues to endure the effects of sexual exploitation of children, there is insufficient reliable research information regarding the possible role of pornographic material in the carrying out of sex offenses against children. This article presents the research findings from a qualitative study that was undertaken for a doctoral thesis. The aim of the study was to explore the role of pornographic material in relation to the sexual exploitation of children. A total of 18 in-depth interviews were conducted with convicted sex offenders who committed an offence involving a child and reported frequent exposure to pornographic material. The research findings, obtained through a process of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), highlight personal and family characteristics that may increase individuals' susceptibility to the influence of exposure to pornographic material. Moreover, it was found that early, recurrent exposure to pornography may results in physiological, cognitive and behavioural effects that contribute to the level of sexual satisfaction and need for instantaneous sexual gratification. Often this uncontrollable need for sexual gratification results in destructive behaviour such as addiction to pornographic material, criminal sexual acts involving children, and degeneration of the family system. Based on the outcome of the study, it can be concluded that pornography may play a role in the sexual exploitation of children, which necessitates the effective regulation of pornographic material, especially on the Internet, and appropriate multi-sectorial approach to effectively deal with individual and societal issues resulting from the exposure to pornographic material.
Sexual abuse and child marriage : promise and pathos of international human rights treaties in safeguarding the rights of the girl child in NigeriaSource: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 16, pp 78 –87 (2015)More Less
This article analyses international human rights provisions specifically prohibiting sexual abuse and child marriage and interrogates the challenges of harmful cultural practices in Nigeria. It discusses the responsibilities and obligations of Nigeria relating to the protection of the rights of the girl child in international human rights law. In addition, it considers the impact of international instruments on the sexual abuse of the girl child and child marriage, the legal challenges to the applicability of these instruments in Nigeria, the attempts, particularly on the part of the judiciary, and the prospects in view hereof. The article comes to conclusions and makes recommendations on ways of safeguarding the rights of the girl child in Nigeria.
Source: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 16, pp 88 –104 (2015)More Less
Paternal incest is traumatic for the child-victim and has the potential to be harmful to the rest of the family members, particularly the primary caregivers (mothers and grandmothers), who therefore need to be supported. The aim of this study was firstly to explore the experiences of primary caregivers whose children or grandchildren were exposed to paternal incest and secondly to use these experiences to suggest guidelines for practitioners on how to support these caregivers. A qualitative, phenomenological design was used in the study. In-depth interviews were conducted with six primary caregivers (four mothers and two maternal grandmothers) from the coloured population group, aged between 25 and 60, from the Western Cape Province of South Africa. Data was analysed thematically. Two main themes emerged from the study. The first theme entailed reactions to the disclosure and its aftermath, which encompassed emotional, cognitive and physiological reactions that were similar to secondary traumatisation. The second theme was coping strategies that emerged to deal with the disclosure and its aftermath, which encompassed effective coping strategies (behavioural coping strategies to actively solve problems and the presence of social support), unhealthy or negative coping strategies (behavioural coping strategies of avoidance) and threats to coping (a lack of social support). Guidelines are suggested for emotional support, multidisciplinary practitioner support and educational support programmes.
Source: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 16, pp 105 –115 (2015)More Less
In South Africa, complainants of child sexual abuse are often referred to forensic social workers from whom it is expected to conduct interviews and compile reports in an attempt to corroborate or refute the allegations made by the child complainant regarding sexual abuse. In some instances the forensic social worker is called to testify in court as an expert witness. Great uncertainty exists in practice concerning the interviewing methods to be utilized, what the requirements of the court are in this regard and whether the testimony of forensic social workers can be used to corroborate the allegations of the child complainant. Until recently case law was silent on these specific matters. It is the authors' submission that a breakthrough has been made in a recent Supreme Court of Appeal case, De Sousa v The State 2014 (769/13) ZASCA 142, during which the expert testimony of a forensic social worker was acknowledged by the Supreme Court of Appeal. An analysis of this case is presented and the requirements met by her are pointed out. These can serve as guidelines for expert testimony given by forensic social workers, which could be accepted in court. Some recommendations for research and practice are proposed.
Source: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 16, pp 116 –129 (2015)More Less
The aim of this qualitative case study was to explore and describe the experience of an only-child adolescent's lived experience of parental divorce. Gestalt field and phenomenological theory in conjunction with current literature provided an overview of the theoretical underpinnings pertaining to the study. Data was obtained and thematically analysed by means of two one-on-one, in depth interviews. Findings showed that the participant experienced feelings associated with grief, bereavement and pressure due to being an only-child. These feelings included anger towards a loss of childhood, fear of losing loved ones and repeated patterns of loss in the adolescent's life, which all added to a loss of identity and control. Loneliness and a longing for a sibling to share this experience with were significantly present. The participant suffered from stress due to the unrealistic expectations from the parents as divorce seemed to have been their main focus. To cope with this pressure, coping mechanisms were used, mainly that of cutting to compensate for the emotional pain experienced. The study delivered a new found awareness into this vulnerable population with the hope that it will be used as a platform for further research in this area.
Source: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 16, pp 130 –136 (2015)More Less
The aim of this article was to explore how social workers perceived life story work. Narrative therapy was used as the theoretical framework of this study, which followed a qualitative descriptive design. Six registered social workers from registered child and youth care centres in the Northern and Southern suburbs of Cape Town were purposefully selected for this study. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions, and analysed thematically. The findings revealed that social workers perceived life story work as essential for children in alternative care in South Africa. The findings support the theoretical framework of this study, which is the ability of narrative therapy to assist children in care to form identities and a sense of belonging. Therefore, social workers are encouraged to utilise life story work with children in care centres. Training would enable social workers to effectively implement life story work activities in social services in the African context.
Source: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 16, pp 137 –147 (2015)More Less
This article reports on a study which aimed at establishing a guideline for social workers in the offices of the Christian Council for Social Services in the Highveld Synod, in order to facilitate proper referral for forensic assessments in cases of child sexual abuse. The guidelines have been drawn up on the basis of information gathered from the relevant literature and from focus group discussions and individual interviews with social workers specializing in forensic social work. Although the guidelines have been developed specifically for the above-mentioned organization, social workers in other child and family care organizations could also derive benefit from them.
An exploration of the scope and impact of prenatal substance abuse in Mitchell's Plain, Western CapeSource: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 16, pp 148 –160 (2015)More Less
Maternal alcohol and drug abuse remains a multifaceted, major social problem with far-reaching global intergenerational consequences with figures indicating that 20% of the 1 million persons living in the "Cape Flats" are methamphetamine users. Prenatal substance abuse has serious consequences for both the mother and the new born child. Impediments may include acute neonatal abstinence syndrome, other neurobehavioral effects, potential congenital malformations, low birth weight for gestational age (intrauterine growth restriction), prematurity, and long-term adverse effects on growth and development. This research initiative aims to explore the scope and impact of prenatal drug abuse in the Mitchell's Plain community and looks at the risk of prenatal substance abuse and developmental and behavioural problems in the children. The objectives of the study are to explore the socio-demographic environment of women who abused illegal drugs and other harmful substances and assess the nature of prenatal substance abuse. It also looks at the extent to which new born babies of the participants presented physical conditions associated with prenatal substance abuse. The complex relationship between psychoactive drugs and neonatal outcomes for the offspring, especially poly-drug use, and structural brain abnormalities, motor and cognitive abnormalities, as well as cognitive and behavioural problems still requires much research. Results of the study are reported in this article.