n Child Abuse Research in South Africa - The relevance of family structure to the victim-perpetrator relationship in child sexual abuse in South Africa

Volume 7, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1562-1383



This article documents a section of the methodology and the results of a project undertaken by the paediatric department at the Addington Provincial Hospital (Durban), in the KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa. The project developed a database of 5 561 child abuse records of alternate year intervals between 1977 and 1995. Although judged as 'old' data, the lessons learnt from this database are unique and provide valuable insights into the way in which child sexual abuse has been dealt with in South Africa. A data-capturing card was developed and regularly updated by the social workers in this hospital. This data card included the recording of a diverse range of variables and sub-variables by the multidisciplinary teams involved in the project. This included biographical data of the victims and perpetrators involved in various types of abuse, not necessarily available in datasets post 1995. Extensive quantitative analysis of this database has been done, but for the purposes of this article, we will report only on selected variables from the overall study, aiming to address the issue of the victim-perpetrator relationship in the sexual abuse of girls. It was determined that there are significant factors, such as age and race, to be taken into account when exploring and intervening in the relationship between the victim and perpetrator where the sexual abuse of girls is concerned, but most importantly, significant information emerged on the relevance of family structure.

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