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- Volume 20, Issue 3, 2007
Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Volume 20, Issue 3, 2007
Volumes & issues
Volume 20, Issue 3, 2007
Author Johan BurgerSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 20, pp I –VIII (2007)More Less
With increases of 2.4% and 4.6% respectively in the murder and aggravated robbery rates, the police's release of the 2006/07 crime statistics confirmed the fears of many that violent crime is on the increase. During the media conference the police communicated the bad news badly in an obvious attempt to downplay the seriousness of a situation over which they, according to their own admission, actually have very little control. In a bizarre sort of way this confirms that whatever we are doing to fight crime isn't working and that it is time now to consider something completely different.
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 20, pp 1 –20 (2007)More Less
The study explores the perceptions of learners and educators at the Strelitzia Secondary School in Isipingo, Durban, regarding safety at the school. Members of the Isipingo Community Policing Forum, as well as South African Police Service were involved in the study as external participants. Through known types of research approaches (quantitative and qualitative), more than 400 questionnaires were completed by Strelitzia Secondary School learners while 20 interview schedules were conducted with Strelitzia Secondary School educators, as well as members of the Isipingo Community Policing Forum and the South African Police Service (Durban South Area). The questionnaires were analysed through nonparametric statistical tests such as Chi-square, while the interview schedules made use of content analyses and theme identification. The study revealed that most Strelitzia Secondary School learners and educators as well as Isipingo CPF members and SAPS members who participated in the study, were of the opinion that Strelitzia Secondary School is a safe environment even though a culture of violence exists in which learners bring drugs, alcohol and firearms to school, and corporal punishment is still practised.
A social work model for support to persons affected by crime in the North-West Province of South AfricaSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 20, pp 21 –31 (2007)More Less
The article focuses on the development of a model for providing support services to people affected by crime, specifically in rural areas which are characterised by limited infrastructure and financial resources. The research was structured according to the Intervention Research Model within the qualitative research approach. Data was collected by means of a literature study, a comparison of the systems of victim support in the Netherlands and South Africa, as well as interviews using a semi-structured interview schedule. A model was developed and illustrated in the format of a support network. The model provides for the organisation of institutions in four concentric panels in order to ensure a co-ordinated provision of professional and community-based support services. Panel 1 represents the services at the police station where the crime is reported; Panel 2 provides for specialised therapeutic and protective support; Panel 3 includes the generic professional services that are provided by social workers, while Panel 4 provides for general emotional and practical support by community-based organisations. It is clear that the actual content and organisation of the network will be determined by the unique situation in the particular area.
Poor infrastructure as an inhibiting factor in the implementation of sector policing at Calcutta police station in the Bushbuck Ridge local municipalityAuthor M. MonteshSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 20, pp 32 –45 (2007)More Less
This study was conducted at Calcutta Police Station, which is situated at Mkhuhlu Township within the Bushbuck Ridge Local Municipality. Since sector policing was implemented in South Africa, nothing has been written about the challenges the police in rural areas are faced with when it comes to the implementation thereof. The Draft National Instruction of 2003 is the guideline document for the members of the South African Police Service (SAPS), but it fails to outline how sector policing can be implemented in rural areas. It is easy to talk about sector policing in urban areas but the same cannot be said of rural areas. The National Instruction on sector policing appears to be more urban friendly instead of taking an approach which balances the scales between urban and rural communities. The Calcutta case study aims to discover the challenges that the SAPS management was confronted with in the introduction of sector policing. In this regard, the poor road infrastructure is one aspect that has not received proper attention. It is clear that when a policing strategy is implemented, this should not be based on the experience of only one country that has successfully implemented it. South Africa is a diverse country with the majority of the population living in rural areas. The Japanese have successfully implemented sector policing, inter alia, because they drew a clear distinction between policing in rural areas and policing in urban areas. Through understanding that the situation in urban areas is not the similar to that in rural areas, the Japanese were able to foster a close relationship between the police and the community, thus contributing to strong social harmony. Therefore, it is important that whenever municipalities draw up their Integrated Development Plans (IDPs), they should consult with the police service because there could be certain obstacles in the way of service delivery. The police service is an agency that has been established in terms of the Constitution to combat crime. Therefore, other government agencies should assist the police in carrying out its mandate by ensuring that their services are aligned with the total strategy of the government.
Operational assessment areas of verbal, physical and relational peer victimisation in relation to the prevention of school violence in public schools in Tshwane SouthSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 20, pp 46 –60 (2007)More Less
It is common cause that the school is the embodiment of the community's educational responsibility and serves increasingly as an agent of socialisation. Therefore, it is essential that scholastic activities should take place in an environment that is conducive to the education and development of learners. Violence at schools is counterproductive and frustrates the scholastic institution's educational and social goals. The research problem underlying this study relates to learners as victims of school violence committed by fellow learners in certain primary and secondary public schools in Tshwane South. A comprehensive literature study was undertaken to identify the operational assessment areas in relation to verbal, physical and relational peer victimisation. The survey method was used to collect and analyse information of a purposive sample of 1 873 learners in grades 6 to 11 from nine primary, eight secondary and two special schools in the Tshwane South district through the application of a structured self-report questionnaire in accordance with their proportional age, sex, academic grade and willingness to participate in the research. The survey results emanating from the above-mentioned research objectives are reported on.
Identity development of the incarcerated adolescent with particular reference to prison gang membershipSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 20, pp 61 –74 (2007)More Less
The plight of the adolescent deprived of his liberty remains a problem in post-apartheid South Africa. Adolescence is characterised by the developmental crisis to form a unique identity ensuring greater interpersonal differentiation, mobilisation of resources and the acquisition of new coping skills to form identity capital and the establishment of a reciprocal relationship with conventional society. However, when surrounded by conflicting value systems in an artificial prison environment marked by isolation, overcrowding and deprivation, one could expect this to be mostly a painful and prolonged experience. The aim of this study was to focus on gang activity as a particular risk factor impacting negatively on role experimentation and identity development of the incarcerated adolescent. Gang membership may assist the incarcerated adolescent with development deficits to attain ego identity through the provision of an identity pathway - enabling him to attain his own expectations as well as that of the group. Through purposive theoretical sampling, 83 male incarcerated research participants were selected for participation in this study. The application of the standardised Erikson scale (Ochse 1983) proved to be reliable in correctional context. The findings of this study show that incarcerated adolescents that achieved a low level of identity development were significantly more members of prison gangs than those with a high level of identity development. It also transpired that research participants with a lower level of identity development were significantly more likely to have friends that belonged to a gang than those with a higher level of identity development. These findings concur with both of the views of Erikson (1968:185) and Marcia (1975:157; 1967:119) on the common lack of purpose, value and direction associated with the adolescent with identity diffusion. Without any sense of direction, identity diffused subjects usually experience feelings of worthlessness and their delinquency becomes often a tool of self-destruction. Frequently, they are impulsive and irresponsible, which are indicators of weak superego strength and therefore, also behavioural traits that could promote the committing of crime. This lack of purpose, value and direction rendered the incarcerated adolescent with a low level of a personal identity in particular vulnerable to gang membership being in want of fulfilment of his emotional and security needs. It is concluded that the dysfunctionality of these adaptations of the adolescent to institutional life could be viewed as "normal" reactions to a set of pathological prison conditions.
Author F.J.W. HerbigSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 20, pp 75 –86 (2007)More Less
During December 2001, legislation was promulgated which effectively banned all recreational off-road vehicles (ORVs) from South African beaches. Increased control over vehicular transgressions, safety on beaches and the promotion of coastal zone conservation were cited as being the principal reasons for this prohibition. A functioning local authority (the Regional Services Council) system of ORV control in the Western Cape was marginalised and supplanted with what would seem to be a hurriedly drafted and implemented regulatory mechanism requiring a high degree of vigilance and enforcement input, and promising increased conservation benefits. Implementation agency vacillation and fragmentation during the last five years has, however, led to the creation of a volatile situation which has facilitated lawlessness and has jeopardised, to a large extent, the ecological integrity of the coastal zone. Conservation crime transgressions in the largely rural and underpoliced coastal zone environment, albeit often opportunistic and perpetrated by drastically reduced numbers of vehicles, would appear to have precipitated a more detrimental effect on coastal conservation than the preceding controlled system of ORV regulation. This has raised questions about the prohibition initiative's intrinsic bona fides. This paper, although by no means an exhaustive analysis, critically evaluates the ORV control premise foundation and the efficacy of its implementation over the last five years in the Western Cape from a criminological perspective in an attempt to probe and expose any underlying limitations or strengths in what would appear to be its virtually seamless patina.
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 20, pp 87 –99 (2007)More Less
Delusional disorders within a criminological context are often overlooked, misunderstood or simply dismissed as behavioural characteristics that do not belong within the field of criminology. However, case studies show that there is a need to understand how delusional disorders could lead to the committing of crime. To address this need a historical overview of delusional disorders is presented. Thereafter, the five criteria and seven subtypes of delusional disorders, as defined by the APA/DSM-IV-TR (2000), are discussed to provide a better understanding of these disorders. Five of the seven subtypes are also contextualised within the South African legal framework. Although the APA/DSM-IV-TR (2000) offers a comprehensive definition of these disorders, the limitations of the definition are discussed as well as types of delusional disorders that are not included in the definition. The aim is to explain the importance of delusional disorders within the field of criminology in the context of the APA/DSM-IV-TR (2000). Actual case studies and elements of particular crimes are used to highlight the relationship between delusional disorders and crime. Furthermore, the challenge related to criminal liability and determining whether individuals can be held accountable for their deluded actions, is discussed. Recommendations on how to treat and prevent potentially dangerous individuals from committing crimes while acting under these delusions are also dealt with.
Author C.J. RoelofseSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 20, pp 100 –112 (2007)More Less
In the business environment the "systems theory" is widely used as an analytical tool. A system typically has an input, process and output. In this article it is argued that individuals in our society are processed by the primary structures, such as the family and schools, in the community. A business has a preferred state, namely to make a profit while the community has a preference for order and stability. Contingencies may arise that put the business at risk and likewise incidents may occur in the lives of individuals that may put them and consequently, the community, at risk. The family represents the primary agent for the socialisation of children. The family is expected to teach social roles, moral standards and society's laws to children as well as to discipline those children who fail to comply with such norms and values. It is the input that children receive and the way they are processed by society that determine what sort of people they eventually become. The systems approach presents us with an analytical tool to determine where the system is failing and enables us to introduce remedial actions. A community support centre is proposed to assist with problem identification, professional analysis and support. Indeed, crime prevention is a community responsibility and through this article some theoretical considerations are converted to empirical application.
Author H. HargovanSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 20, pp 113 –123 (2007)More Less
A core value in restorative justice is to balance offender needs, victim needs, and the needs of the community. Critiques of wide scale implementation of restorative justice practices, both within and outside the criminal justice system, have highlighted the need to prioritize victims' needs above all else. As South Africa moves closer towards translating restorative justice policy to practice the question that arises is : 'Do restorative justice practices really prioritize the needs of victims, or is it more a case of 'compulsory compassion'; using victims to help reform and reintegrate offenders into society, justify diversion from the criminal justice system, reduce court rolls and alleviate overcrowding in our correctional facilities? If not, how then can we ensure that the needs of victims are met and the proclaimed outcomes of restorative justice are indeed victim focused? The question of whether a shift from punitive to restorative justice would benefit victims is a very complex one and evidence of how satisfied victims are with restorative justice processes can play only a small role in helping us answer the question. Therefore, the vexing question is how best to effectively and innovatively integrate restorative processes into the formal criminal justice system so that the most important outcome i.e. empowerment for victims may be achieved? While restorative justice initiatives are increasingly prominent in juvenile justice legislation in many jurisdictions internationally, this new paradigm may still be viewed as merely a small scale response to minor crime and disputes/conflict where crimes regarded as not sufficiently serious for a full scale penal response, would then be diverted to restorative justice programmes. Such a development would allow the criminal justice system to step up its response to minor crimes which might individually seem trivial but collectively constitute a major social problem, without overloading the system. Although attractive to governments, from a victim's perspective there are clear limitations and dangers inherent with this approach. The incorporation of restorative justice ideas and techniques into the criminal justice process may not turn out to be in any broader sense about restorative justice. For example, the idea of victim offender mediation may be taken up, but without an emphasis on achieving restorative outcomes, but rather a source of useful ideas and techniques in the fight against crime, especially youth crime, with no fundamental change in the character or focus of the criminal justice system. This article aims to expand the debate and consider critically the advantages and shortcomings of restorative justice, especially in cases of intimate violence (taking into account the extraordinarily high rates of violent crime against women and children in South Africa). An integrated, multi-sectoral approach involving collaboration with the relevant government departments (National Prosecuting Authority, Departments of Social Development, Justice, Safety and Security, Health, Correctional Services and Education) is suggested so that clear strategies may be developed to facilitate responses from the moment a crime occurs until the final restorative elements have been completed. Victim services and support would need to be made available regardless of whether the accused offender is apprehended or not, which should continue to be available at the request of the victim regardless of the pace of the processes determining offender accountability. The primary aim of restorative justice initiatives should be to provide better services for victim and heal and strengthen communities (with possible long term crime prevention effects). The article highlights the difficulties associated with applying restorative approaches in cases of intimate violence against women and children, and proposes that the primary focus should be on victim safety and not merely offence seriousness and willingness of the offender to participate. In this regard some important practical and ethical questions for restorative justice practitioners are raised. Clearly the agenda for implementation and strengthening of restorative practices in the criminal justice system has to go hand in hand with victim support and empowerment, for which many policies already exist. Perhaps a future South African model for the implementation of restorative justice should keep the empowerment of victims at the forefront.