Child Abuse Research in South Africa - Volume 4, Issue 2, 2003
Volume 4, Issue 2, 2003
Author Karen MullerSource: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 4, pp 2 –9 (2003)More Less
Although medical and psychological experts have been used to testify as to the indicators and/or effects of child sexual abuse, there has arisen the need for a new kind of expertise in this field. Children are perceived by the courts to be miniature adults and their evidence is evaluated on this basis, often resulting in an injustice to the child. Cognisance needs to be taken of the fact that children differ dramatically from adults with respect to cognitive development, language development, and the perceptions and beliefs they hold. In order for the courts to communicate more effectively with child witnesses, it is necessary that experts inform judicial officers of the common misunderstandings involved in communicating with children.
Source: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 4, pp 10 –26 (2003)More Less
This article explored neurobehavioural deficits and strengths in a sample of abused children in an attempt to develop an understanding of the impact of child abuse on the plasticity of intelligence. The Revised Senior South African Individual Scale was administered to a sample of 75 male and female subjects between the ages of 8 years 0 months and 16 years 11 months who had been exposed to child abuse to levels that warranted admission to a Place of Safety. A one-way analysis of variance technique was implemented and p-values calculated to allow inter- and intra- group comparisons with regards to levels of intellectual functioning. The results indicate deficits in intellectual functioning among all subjects (p = 0.0001), with such deficits being particularly marked for memory and verbal processing abilities (p = 0.0001). Subtle neurobehavioural deficits and strengths were present. Intact visual non-verbal functioning was demonstrated by a substantially elevated performance IQ among all subjects (p = 0.0072), in keeping with the concept of 'frozen watchfulness' associated with abuse. All subjects revealed advanced levels of social knowledge, suggesting activated amygdala functioning. Despite elevated episodic memory, all subjects revealed impaired error detection and restoration, suggesting depressed anterior cingulate gyrus and orbitofrontal cortex functioning. Findings suggest differential intellectual impairment associated with child abuse, with a sparing of visual non-verbal functions. The depressed verbal and elevated non-verbal IQ provides support for the plasticity of intelligence, with the interpretation being that brain functions are reorganised with stress and that various memory functions are selectively either depressed or activated.
Source: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 4, pp 27 –35 (2003)More Less
This paper describes a short-term structured intervention for children who are sexually abused during middle childhood. The proposed model is essentially eclectic in nature, combining elements of abuse-focused therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, and movement therapy in a structured programme informed by nine key principles: (a) the safety of the child, (b) honesty on the part of the therapist, (c) the utilisation of a broad range of therapeutic techniques, (d) an appreciation of the child's level of linguistic development, (e) alternation of intervention strategies, (f) the creation of a predictable therapeutic environment, (g) individually tailored interventions, (h) the use of physical activity as a therapeutic tool, and (i) the involvement of non-offending parents in the treatment programme. Key components of the intervention programme include: a comprehensive initial assessment; a focus on the development of emotional and cognitive skills and competencies; a careful working through of abuse related recollections; assisting the child to cognitively and emotionally process the trauma; and psycho-educational input regarding the abuse, sexuality in general, and abuse prevention strategies.
Author M. Elizabeth SmitSource: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 4, pp 36 –41 (2003)More Less
In schools bullying is increasingly being recognised by educators as the significant problem that it is. Whilst adult-adult, and adult-child violence has been recognised and legislated against in our society for a number of years, the issue of child-child violence has not been seriously addressed. In this article consideration will be given to research literature, which highlights how the bully identifies certain learners as victims. The article goes on to describe research conducted at two primary schools in South Africa. The research was carried out by means of discussions and interviews conducted with learners, observation, document analysis, and focus group interviews with educators.
Source: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 4, pp 42 –54 (2003)More Less
Despite the growth of the area in which expert evidence can be used in litigation, little attention has been given to the ethical obligations of professionals in forensic practice which should govern forensic experts, conduct with each other, with their clients and patients, with other professionals, and vis-à-vis the court. After indicating the pitfalls of the current situation, the author argues in favour of a Code of Ethics for forensic experts and proposes ethical guidelines that should be contained in such a Code.
Invitation to attend The 5th Annual National Conference On Child Abuse Of the SA Professional Society on the Abuse of Children Pretoria, 18 to 20 May 2004Source: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 4, pp 55 –57 (2003)More Less