n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Challenges of diversion strategies in meeting the diversion objectives of the Child Justice Act (75 of 2008)
|Article Title||Challenges of diversion strategies in meeting the diversion objectives of the Child Justice Act (75 of 2008)|
|© Publisher:||Criminological and Victimological Society of Southern Africa (CRIMSA)|
|Journal||Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology|
|Affiliations||1 University of the Free State|
|Publication Date||Jan 2012|
|Pages||76 - 86|
|Issue||Special Edition 2|
One purpose of the Child Justice Act (75 of 2008) is to divert children who were found guilty of criminal behaviour, in appropriate cases, away from formal justice procedures. The objectives of diversion revolve around instilling responsibility, reintegrating the child with the family and community, involving victims in the diversion process, as well as preventing stigmatisation and the child from receiving a criminal record. An explorative study was undertaken to determine the extent to which different diversion strategies have the potential to realise the diversion objectives of the Child Justice Act. Case studies of four diversion strategies were compiled, namely life skills training, mentoring, outdoor programming and family group conferencing. It is argued that the objectives of dealing with the child outside the ambit of formal criminal procedures, encouraging accountability and preventing the child from receiving a criminal record can easily be met, provided that diverted children complete the assigned interventions. However, diversion strategies are confronted with an array of challenges, from both programme design and implementation perspectives, in meeting the objectives of diversion. Among others, group approaches may fail to address the unique needs of individual participants. Despite parents featuring as important stakeholders in diversion outcomes, some strategies do not recognise or formalise their involvement in service delivery. Community involvement appears absent across diversion strategies. Given the general absence of victim involvement in diversion strategies (except for restorative-type interventions), important questions can be raised regarding their ability to meet the reconciliatory and reintegration objectives of the Child Justice Act.
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