n Child Abuse Research in South Africa - "Orphans of Justice" : the children of incarcerated fathers in South Africa

Volume 17, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1562-1383



Children with incarcerated fathers experience diversity of challenges, including coping with the loss of their fathers, environmental disruption, poverty, stigmatisation, health problems and the contact with their fathers during incarceration. Although the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Child emphasises the need to protect children from any discrimination, those with incarcerated fathers are often overlooked. Despite the fact that the majority of sentenced inmates in South Africa are male and most of them are fathers with parenting responsibility, their children tend to have been out of sight and out of mind of the non-governmental organisations, criminal justice practitioners and the research community. Parental incarceration also increases the risk that children will experience later behavioural and emotional problems, have troubles in school, and become involved in the juvenile and criminal justice system. Furthermore, their relationship with their fathers has been neglected and their own voices are seldom represented. Therefore, this paper will attempt to establish the challenges, experiences and perceptions of children with incarcerated fathers with the intention of understanding the above indicated issues for the promotion of further research and the possible development of policies that will promote the protection of their rights in South Africa.

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