Child Abuse Research in South Africa - Volume 8, Issue 2, 2007
Volume 8, Issue 2, 2007
Author E. SmitSource: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 8, pp 53 –59 (2007)More Less
This paper explores the occurrence, nature, and forms of violence in South African Schools. The Minister of Education, Naledi Pandor, supplied figures for the year 2004 during which a large number of incidents of assault, sexual violence, and violence involving lethal weapons were perpetrated. With the involvement of the Education Department, teaching personnel, parents, law enforcement officials, and learners, attempts are being made to create a safe school environment. The physical environment may be the optimal place to start. Securing the school premises and being strict about who is admitted to the school grounds is a practical problem that demands practical solutions. Finding solutions to the psychological problems of pupils who resort to violence is far more problematic and cannot be approached on the level of installing locks and fences. The escalation of change, the availability of drugs, and the abuse many learners are subjected to have all contributed to a culture of resorting to violent solutions in a context of personal and interpersonal problems.
Author Steven J. CollingsSource: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 8, pp 60 –68 (2007)More Less
School-based sexual abuse prevention programmes were originally developed in the United States during the 1970s in response to prevalence findings which indicated extremely high rates of victimisation. This paper examines available literature on school-based prevention programmes in order to address three fundamental questions : (a) Are prevention programmes effective in reducing the incidence of sexual victimisation, (b) do prevention programmes have harmful side-effects, and (c) is a child-focused approach to primary prevention appropriate? The paper concludes with a critical evaluation of the relevance of available programmes for prevention efforts in the South African context.
An alternative way of assessing girls who have been sexually abused : using Gestalt therapy for assessment purposesSource: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 8, pp 69 –80 (2007)More Less
This article reports on the findings of a qualitative study which explored the use of Gestalt therapy (initially intended for therapeutic purposes) during the assessment of young girls who had been sexually abused. The research employed a clinical case study design, situated within the context of psychotherapy outcome research. Nine intervention sessions were conducted with each of two primary school girls, with an analysis of existing documentation, interviews, observation, field notes, visual techniques, and a researcher journal being used as data collection and documentation strategies. Although various traditional assessment strategies exist for children who have been sexually abused, there has recently been some debate regarding the suitability of such techniques in a contemporary South African context characterised by diverse needs and interests. In addition, children who have been sexually abused often experience difficulties in identifying with traditional assessment procedures, suggesting the need for alternative strategies which could be employed with success. In this article it is argued that Gestalt therapy, and the techniques associated with the approach, might effectively be applied as a possible modality of intervening with this vulnerable group of children. Based on the outcome of the present intervention, it seems clear that such an alternative Gestalt-based assessment approach allows for the assessment of participants' emotional and behavioural functioning, as well as the defence mechanisms they employ in an attempt to escape reality and associated painful memories. As a secondary outcome, certain positive emotional and behavioural changes were detected subsequent to the intervention.
An inconvenient truth : on the absence of definitive corroborative medical evidence in child sexual abuse casesAuthor Susan S. KrestonSource: Child Abuse Research in South Africa 8, pp 81 –96 (2007)More Less
This article examines the most common reasons why definitive medical evidence is not forthcoming in the overwhelming majority of child sexual abuse cases. The analysis is supported by multiple medical studies that conclude it is completely possible for a child to be sexually abused but for there to be no discernable physical trace on the child. The article concludes by assessing how best to proceed with successful prosecutions, in spite of an absence of definitive medical evidence.