n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - The victimological impact of heroin abuse on the family : a study in progress

Special Edition 1
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



Heroin is a highly addictive substance and the abuse thereof leads to the gradual increase of doses in order to have the same effect as previously. This may place financial strain on the abuser and lead to criminal behaviour, especially committing property crimes, aimed at supporting the heroin abuse. The family is often the victims of these crimes and this places both emotional and financial strain on the family members. This article is based on a current masters degree study which examines the impact heroin abuse has on the family as well as the perspective of the heroin abuser on the victimisation of the family. This qualitative study will be explorative in nature and semi-structured interviews will be conducted with heroin abusers and their families at Elim clinic, a rehabilitation centre in Gauteng. The heroin abusers that will be included in the study include those who are under the age of 24, unmarried and currently being treated at Elim clinic for heroin abuse. The family will be defined separately in each individual case as all family structures and members that are included differ. In the proposed study the experience of the family of the heroin abuser will be explored. This experience will be related to their feelings of victimisation and the emotional and financial impact the presence of a heroin abuser in the family has on them. The heroin abusers' perspective will be of importance as this might shed light on whether they perceive their family as victims as well as the impact the heroin abuse has on them. The aim of the article is to discuss the proposed study and the possible impact it could have for the field of drug studies and victimology. Previous research related to the topic will be critically discussed and integrated with the proposed study as part of the article.

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