The experience review of interventions and programmes dealing with youth violence in urban schools in South Africa, I Matthews, R Griggs, G Caine

Tags: community, South Africa, perpetrators, risk factors, intervention, interventions, National Youth Commission, perpetrator, culture of violence, the problem, literature review, intervention strategies, parenting skills, youth violence, community involvement, supportive environment, street children, school curriculum, prison population, corporal punishment, William Pollock, South African, violent crime, Human Science Research Council, Segal, population, Daily News, Department of Correctional Services, prevention of child abuse, Coloured, Child Protection Unit, Independent Projects Trust, US Department of Justice, positive self image, youth care workers, child development, Urban Schools, dysfunctional families, community support systems, South African literature, school violence, Iole Matthews Dr Richard Griggs Glenda Caine, Richard Griggs, family support services
Content: THE EXPERIENCE REVIEW OF INTERVENTIONS AND PROGRAMMES DEALING WITH YOUTH VIOLENCE IN URBAN SCHOOLS IN South Africa An undertaking of the Independent Projects Trust Review Team Iole Matthews Dr Richard Griggs Glenda Caine 15 July 1999 1
Introduction At the request of the national Secretariat for Safety and Security, the Independent Projects Trust (IPT) undertook a literature review for the "Culture of Violence in Urban Schools Project". The task of this project was to review and analyse recent research into the nature and sources of violence in urban schools in order to inform practical intervention strategies. The terms of reference stressed that, in view of the complexity of the field, the outcomes had to be as practical and accessible as possible. We have tried to adhere to this principle. The IPT which has ten years of experience in school interventions put together a review team which consisted of Richard Griggs (Phd Berkeley 1993), Iole Matthews, and Glenda Caine. The IPT team met with Margaret Roper, Louise Alhadeff, and Kim Porteous in the Durban office and, after a preliminary discussion, the secretariat's existing collection of literature was forwarded to the IPT. The review began on Monday 21st June 1999 with a completion date given as Monday 12th July 1999. Over the three weeks the material was supplemented with additional literature sourced by the IPT from both their own archives, the Internet, other organisations and the University of Natal library. In total 130 documents were reviewed and analysed which included chapters in books, articles, draft policy, research papers, and theses. We also surveyed raw data from the Central Statistical Services, the Child Protection Unit, and various government departments. A separate data base that lists these sources is attached. It is our view that, at best, this can be considered a preliminary study of much relevant literature and cannot be considered exhaustive. The field is vast and could have been supplemented by an almost endless supply of relevant data. Unfortunately, time was a limitation. The review addresses five major themes: 1. The widespread `Culture of Violence' that seems to have taken root in urban schools, particularly in disadvantaged areas, in order to understand the origin of the problem 2. The nature and scope of violence among school-age youth to understand the seriousness of the problem and who it affects both as victims and perpetrators 3. The profile of the youth perpetrators in order to identify Risk factors that threaten youth as well as possible resilience factors which might protect them. 4. The intervention strategies that might reduce levels of violence among school youth. 5. The way forward including recommendations for both further research and policies that might address the problem more precisely The first three themes are embodied in Section Two regarding `Understanding Youth Violence in Urban Schools". Section Three then discusses intervention strategies and Section Four reviews these findings in the context of the gaps in research, literature review based recommendations, and some general recommendations that arise out of a more complete understanding of the materials. 2
Altogether, we tried to distinguish what is known about violence in urban schools and can be acted upon from what is not well understood and requires further investigation. It became very clear that we know a great deal about the origin, scope, and nature of the problem including the profile of the perpetrator. Furthermore, we even know about possible intervention strategies but have not worked out the precise programmes, including ways to coordinate intervention strategies, in order to have an impact on the problem. This means that further research into the problem is not as warranted as research into methods of intervention. It is urgent that an audit be undertaken in order to identify and measure all existing programmes. It would then be necessary to measure the impact of these interventions and then for a set of criteria to be developed which will allow us to replicate these success factors and best practices. Along with replication, it would be vital to identify areas of possible co operation between the multiple service providers, such as NGOs, CBOs and state departments in order to facilitate delivery. 3
Section Two: Understanding Violence Among Youth in Urban Schools To reach a sound understanding of the nature of violence in schools we need to explore, three categories of information. The first, is to examine the meaning of the widely used `culture of violence'. We will examine both the origins of this culture and how it operates as a victim perpetrator cycle through family, school, and community life. We will also analyse the role of the school itself in perpetrating this "culture of violence". The second category of information regards an examination of the scope and nature of youth violence. Who is most affected by crime and violence? What kinds of crimes are being committed? And is school based violence different from the violence affecting youth at home and in the community? The final category of information identifies the key risk factors youth face which increase their chances of becoming a perpetrator and the possible resilience factors which may offer some protection. 1. The Culture of Violence There seems to be widespread agreement that violence in South Africa's urban schools does not just result from static social and economic factors. Rather, violence is part of a dynamic and systemic cycle that appears to have its origin in the apartheid years when institutionalised violence became a way of life in our homes, schools, and communities. Examining this cycle is important as it helps to conceptualise the problem of violence, explain why it is so widespread, deepens our understanding and compassion for both the victims and perpetrators, and points to the need to intervene in ways and places that can break a `cycle of violence' that has been historically generated. Most literature supports the contention that both the state-led violence of apartheid and the violent struggle against it produced a `culture of violence' that permeated society including our schools. South African society as a whole was intimately involved in a situation in which one either submitted to, or supported, or rebelled violently against the institutionalised violence of the state - the early beginnings of a culture of violence. Then, the crimes and strategies of intimidation committed in the name of the `struggle' during the anti-apartheid years further perpetuated this `culture'. Between the apartheid state and the struggle, children grew up in a world surrounded by death, abuse, and violence and came to accept it as a way of life. The use of violence, by both the former apartheid government and the liberation movement also taught that violence is a powerful means of attaining change. This affected popular thinking throughout South Africa and legitimised the further use of violence in families, schools and communities (CSVR 1994). The family, serving as an agent of socialisation, has also become instrumental in replicating the culture of violence (Simpson, 1993). Monique Marks (1992) in "Youth and Political Violence" discusses the link between family and community violence in her study of Soweto. The high incidence of family violence leads to the acceptance of violence within the family and then it is justified as part and parcel of all social institutions. Marks found a large number of male youth who feel that, within their own future families, violence will be used as a means of discipline 4
both for their wives and their own children. Simpson (1993) argues that violence against women and children is so indicative of the entire cycle that we can use it as a barometer of the "culture of violence" within South African society. This "culture of violence" became particularly embedded in the townships which bore the brunt of the traumatic affects of both struggle politics and institutionalised racism and where the cycle of violence is exacerbated by poor socioeconomic conditions. This is a community in which fighting is a common practice; where social status is gained by carrying a gun and the romanticised portrayal of "hero's funerals" are encouraged. Within this culture, young people often lack self esteem and personal confidence, positive role models are few and negative images make crime more attractive. According the National Youth Commission (1997) it is in this environment that high risk behaviours are commonplace and indicative of a poor self-concept The extreme poverty of these communities also contributes to the continuation of this cycle of violence by producing youth who lack self esteem, personal confidence, and positive role models and who experience almost all the known risk factors associated with turning to crime and violence (Flisher, Ziervogel, Chalton and Robertson, 1993). In the literature the intensity and frequency of youth violence was aptly revealed by the answer to a question posed by Motsei (1998) in a study of young black men between 16 and 25 years within Alexandra Township. The researcher asked, "Why it is so easy to kill?" And the answer was : "We are used to people dying. Death has become a common feature of our life in Alexandra. We see death every day, we no longer fear death. To us death has become a way of life". The more the culture of violence becomes embedded in social institutions, the higher the tolerance for crime and violence (National Youth Commission, 1997). The `culture of violence' can also lead to a `culture of silence' which can be attributed to either intimidation by gangs and criminals (Griggs 1997) or to such an acceptance of violence as a way of life that fewer people report victimisation (Lewis, 1997). Motsei (1998) points out that in Alexandra, some of the community's role models are crime heads while corruption among police further emphasises the idea that `everyone' is involved in crime and legitimates its use . 2. The Culture of Violence and Schools Within the literature there have also been attempts to explain why this culture of violence is so prevalent amongst the youth and within the school environment. The problem has variously been attributed to three causal factors, one, to the influence of the individuals who inhabit schools, two to the use of the school itself as a site of resistance and three, to the high level of victimisation experienced by youth who attend these schools. The first argument is that the school-age youth who took up violent protest from 1976 are the parents and teachers that influence youth today. Zwane (1997) explains: "Many of the parents of today's students were also involved in the 1976 and the 1980s resistance struggle. Thus, many of them have themselves been directly or indirectly 5
affected by violence. Even now, in the post-apartheid era, violence continues to affect them and their children". The `militarised youth' or `lost generation' of yesterday provide an example to today's youth of how violence offered solutions. After all, violence did effect positive change; witness the success of the struggle. So violence, or the threat of violence, gives learners a real sense of power in their schools and communities (CSVR 1994). This mind-set (or culture) then feeds into the violence cycle already bred by domestic violence and aggravated by factors like high rates of unemployment, family disruption, and substance abuse. The second argument is that schools were the centres for mobilising communities in the protests against the nationalist government (CSVR 1995). Not only did school-age youth take to the streets in the 1980s but schools were often the centre for mobilising communities in the protests against the apartheid regime (CSVR 1994). This contributed to schools becoming a locus for violence in the 1990s and also added to a perception of schools as the centres for mobilising protest and creating change. Schools are not only seen as places of learning but places for a militaristic cultural orientation (Zwane 1997). A third interpretation by Segal (1998) offers another way to link the historic role of violence to today's culture of violence among youth. Most of today's youth have been victims of violence and therefore are both desensitised to it and acculturated to it as a way of life. One survey of 244 students in 1991 found that 84% had one of their school mates killed in the violence (Nzimande and Thusi 1998). Eighty-seven percent of these reported being directly affected by the violence while at school. These learners were often harassed by both vigilantes and police. This not only set them up as potential perpetrators but created an entire culture of victimisation based on fear of the police and intimidation by gangs, a situation that continues today, contributing to the victim-perpetrator cycle. The high level of victimisation is further supported by the National Youth Commission (1997) which indicates that just during the period between 1984 and in 1986, 300 children were killed, 1000 wounded, 11,000 were detained, 18,000 arrested on protest charges, and 173,000 were awaiting trial. CASE (1996) estimated that 1 in 10 young men and women had been victims of political violence, and 47% had known victims of political violence. Bundy (1992) states that between October 1989 and February 1991, 3,200 people died in political violence, and 26,300 recorded murders took place. The " culture of violence" describes a situation in which families, schools, and communities appear caught in a victim-perpetrator cycle in which violence is seen as a valid means of change and conflict management. Thus, an overwhelming level of daily violence continues to traumatize and shape the lives of youth and the worst situation appears to be in those townships where the cycle is most intense. However, while township youth and other disadvantaged populations bear the brunt of this violence, they are not the only ones affected. Dovey (1996) has shown in surveys that "The young people in our survey tell us that South African children and youth from all walks of life are living in a conflict ridden culture, whether it be 6
at intra-personal, inter-personal, inter-group, or broader societal level". To achieve change, it will be necessary to break into a cycle of violence that has become a systemic part of our family, school, and community way of life. 3. Nature and Scope of Youth Violence The `culture of violence' thesis suggests a victim-perpetrator cycle in which victims are so desensitised to violence that they become perpetrators. This finds validation in discussing the scope and nature of youth violence. South Africa's young children, particularly those from disadvantaged groups, suffer from increasingly high rates of violence. Within the literature we were, unfortunately, not able to find a set of longitudinal studies to explain the entire scope of the problem. However we do have enough evidence to justify some important statements. 1. A review of the nature and scope of youth violence reveals that schoolbased violence, crime, and behavioural problems tend to affect males more frequently than females. 2. The individual most likely to commit crimes of violence and to die from crimes of violence is a black male youth 3. Child abuse, domestic violence, and sexual violence tend to affect black female youth more frequently and directly than any other group. 4. In most cases the violence affecting School-Age Children is not random. In an overwhelming number of cases, the perpetrator and victim know each other.
The evidence for these statements is provided below in accordance with various sources of data.
The Human Science Research Council (1996) conducted the first national analysis of statistics on crimes against children. These were recorded between July 1994 and June 1995 by the Child Protection Unit (CPU) and amounted to some 4,606 cases. Many of its most basic findings have been corroborated by other research and some of the factors are addressed more comprehensively in the next section. The key HSRC findings which support the above statements include:
The majority of crimes against children are of a sexual nature and include rape,
indecent assault, attempted rape, sodomy, other sexual offences, and incest
Most perpetrators are Black male youths
The majority of victims are female and black
Most child victims (83.5%) knew the perpetrator
Most crimes against children occur within the child's familiar environment
The South African Police Service (1999) now offer an even more comprehensive set of statistics on reported crimes against children, although it must be noted that most crimes go unreported. The CPU has completed statistics covering the full period from 1994 to the end of 1998 on reported rape, sodomy, incest, indecent assault, attempted murder, assault with grievous bodily harm, common assault, abduction, kidnapping, child care, and a miscellaneous category (e.g., public indecency). The statistics indicate a steady rise in all offences except one since 1994. An ill-defined category called sexual offences (referring to a 1957 act prohibiting `certain offenses' like `molestation' against children) has declined. This is not statistically significant since there is such a great increase in all other categories over the total five-year period. It should be noted that it is not clear whether the incidences of crime have increased or rather that more crimes are now reported. The total number of reported offences against children younger than 18 between 1994 and 1998 is summarised in the following table:
Crimes against children
1996 1997 1998
7,559 10,037 13,859 14,723 15,732
660 893
221 253
Indecent Assault
3,904 4,044 4,168 3,902 3,744
Sexual Offences (Act 23, 1957)
1094 1,121 1,160
Attempted Murder
244 283
Assault with grievous bodily harm
1,905 2,272 3,841 3,686 4,022
Common Assault
3,246 3,768 4,502 4,179 4,267
805 1,184
962 1,034
978 946 1,126 1,220
Child Care (ill-treatment)
2,694 3,499 3,805 3,633 3,755
Other (e.g., public indecency)
833 944 1,432 1,526
23,664 28,482 35,838 35,867 37,352
The most reported crime against children is rape. Child rape nearly doubled over four years from 7,559 cases in 1994 to 15,732 in 1998. The next two leading categories include common assault (4,267 cases in 1998) and assault with grievous bodily harm. The latter more than doubled in reported cases from 1,905 cases in 1994 to 4,022 cases in 1998. The kidnapping (1,220 cases in 1998) and abduction (1,034 cases in 1998) of children also occur at high levels.
Overall, the CPU statistics indicate that the most common offences against children involve either sexual abuse or assault of some kind. Sharon Lewis (1997) in a study limited to ten cases found a rather high rate of rape on school grounds. In examining the 10 child survivors of rape, she found five were raped on school grounds, three on their way to or from school, and two were raped by neighbours. The relevance to the HSRC study, is that both agree that most rapes took place in the child's familiar environment during the day time. This means that the level of risk for school-age children being raped and bodily abused in some manner is very high and that sound interventions are required to prevent such offences against this vulnerable population.
An examination of six mortuaries across the country compiled by the Violence and Injury Surveillance Consortium (1999) provides evidence that late-teenage Black males comprise the majority of victims of death by homicide in the under 21-age group. Included in the study were mortuaries in Diepkloof, Roodepoort, Germiston, Medunsa, Kimberley, and East London. Between 44% (Roodepoort) and 65.5% (Kimberley) of victims in the 16 to 21 year age group were murdered. The percentage of deaths by homicide for younger children is lower than the accident rate and ranged between 4.3% (Medunsa) and 20% (Diepkloof). In the case of Kimberley, a black male in his late teenage years is more than three times as likely to die by homicide than in an accident of some kind.
The mortuary statistics also revealed that:
deaths hit a peak for the 16-21 year age group on weekends
most of the homicides were related to firearms
Despite the connection with guns (especially Roodepoort, Germiston, Diepkloof, and Medunsa), death by other means occurred where guns were less available for example sharp objects were the primary medical cause of death by homicide in Kimberley and East London.
The mortuary study adds significant evidence to the HSRC findings that late-teenage black males are the group most likely to be victims of violent homicide among those under 21-years of age. Between 66.7% (East London) and 87.2% (Diepkloof) of the 15-21 year old victims were male. Between 62.1% (Kimberley) and 100% (Medunsa) were black. For black youth the homicide rate exceeds the accidental death rate from fifteen years of age onwards.
The fact that male youth are most likely to be victims is supported by a Cape Town based study, Flisher (1993) which found that younger secondary school males are the group most likely to be the victims of aggression at school. This seems to be the case internationally as well. In a US-based Harvard study, the psychologist William Pollock (1998) found that boys are three times more likely to be a victim of violent crime and four to six times more likely to commit suicide. Boys are also twice as likely to be labelled "learning disabled", constitute up to 67% of special education classes, and are more likely to endure disciplinary problems.
In contrast a victim of sexual violence will usually be a young black female. The Human Science Research Council (1996) study discussed in the previous section found that most child abuse victims were female and black and NEDCOR reports that 43% of all reported cases of indecent assault in 1997 were against girls under 17 while affecting only 18% of boys in the same age group. Another attribute of youth violence is that the victim and perpetrator are usually known to one another. The 1996 Human Sciences Research Council report found that 83.5% of child victims already know the perpetrator. Of 4,606 cases of crimes against children analysed by the Human Sciences Research Council (1996), it was found that more than one-third of the crimes occurred in the child's own home. This is also true internationally. For instance, ninety-seven percent of children in state custodial care in Ontario were found to have suffered abuse at the hands of a trusted authority figure. Flisher (1993) demonstrated that familiarity between victim and perpetrator also applies to schools through surveys of Cape Peninsula High School students. Of those reporting victimisation, 12.7% said they were injured by another student, 7.2% by a member of staff (not corporal punishment), 9.6% by an adult at home and 13.8% by someone else. Flisher also found that 22.7% of the students had physically injured another student either at school (11%) or outside the school (11.7%) in the last year. 4. Risk Factors and Resilience Factors 4.1 Profile for youth who become violent : The Risk Factors Identifying risk and resilience factors producing youth violence is a widely employed approach to the complexity of a problem in which there is no single root cause of crime. Exposure to risk factors does not cause criminality, rather risk factors work over time to influence the likelihood of criminal behaviour or victimisation. The longer the exposure, the greater the likelihood of criminality. Research shows that risk factors multiply their effects rather than simply accumulating. For example, one risk is not a greater threat than none, but two or more risk factors quadruple the likelihood of problems(National Crime Prevention Council of Canada, 1995). A statistically based model for an individual at risk of being a perpetrator might portray a poor young Black male, under 19, from a disadvantaged community, who has a dysfunctional family, a history of victimisation, does badly at school, and who may be abusing a substance . All of these characteristics represent the key risk factors which increase the probability of criminality. No one factor can be said to override the others though the order in which the factors are listed do have some semblance of significance, at least as far as the literature indicates. Poverty The National Crime Prevention Council of Canada (1995) argues that poverty is not so much the problem as the fact that poverty brings with it a host of associated risk 10
factors: poor nutrition, increased familial stress, higher risk of domestic abuse, lack of access to learning resources ie poor schooling, poor parenting, harsh erratic discipline, criminal or alcoholic parents, drug abuse, violence, and neglect. Certainly poverty is a key risk factor that seems to be associated or even underlie some of those factors already discussed e.g., higher chances of victimisation, problems of low self-esteem among poor male youth, race, broken homes and dysfunctional families, dysfunctional schools, drug abuse. Simply put, the highest levels of crime in South Africa are situated where the highest unemployment levels are located and the highest levels of poverty (Central Statistical Services, et al, 1999; Daily News 1999; Human Science Research Council 1996; Wolmaranns, Seef and Jabobz 1994). Motsei (1998) adds that in the absence of legitimate employment in the impoverished townships, an alternative market based in stolen goods, guns, and drugs is given space to flourish. This feeds into the cycle of violence that affects families, schools, and community. Poverty has a major impact on levels of domestic violence, which are implicated in perpetuating a cycle of violence through the institution of the family as previously discussed. International research has found that young, single, less-educated, lowerincome mothers were found to use higher levels of verbal and corporal punishment, practice less positive nurturing behaviours, and experience higher levels of child behavioural problems (Nicholson, Brenner and Fox 1999). Furthermore poverty increase the potential of youth dropping out of school, for example McKendrick (1991), found that 53% of the school age children of Phola Park were not in school owing to costs associated with transport and school fees. In international studies it appears that poverty also aggravates male aggressive behaviour. Gibbs (1998) Wilson (1987) and Nightingale (1993) all made similar observations about minority youth in the inner cities of the USA. There young males engage in destructive behaviour intended as an adjustment to the reality of powerlessness in a society where males are `supposed' to be dominant. A further aspect of extreme poverty is the overcrowding and lack of privacy experienced by many communities. Henderson (1992) showed one way in which family violence replicates community violence through a study conducted in New Crossroads (Cape Town) where there were an average of 5.7 people per house and in some cases up to 20 people living in a four roomed house. With little or no separation between public and private space, violent acts within families and households quickly become public. Family fights often polarise the entire street when the street committee intervenes in the conflict. Age Although most researchers agree that youth commit the majority of crimes, there is some uncertainty about the age range most at risk and some researchers argue that adolescence itself is a risk. The Daily News (1999) quoting Elrena van der Spuy, a Criminology lecturer from the University of Cape Town, gives a broad range for those most at risk of becoming offenders (between 17 and 30 years of age). In the 11
same article, Mr Martin Schonteich of the Institute for Security Studies argued that the majority of crimes in South Africa are committed by youth in their early twenties (Daily News 1999). Segal (1998) indicates a different statistic arguing that the average age of people committing crime has dropped to at least 17 or lower since 1988 when it was 22 years of age. The exact range of ages most at risk may be problematic because the statistics come from conviction rates and obtaining convictions for school-age youth is very difficult. The police and justice system are also lenient on first-time offences by school-age children often referring them to counselling or support services. The conviction rate for the under 18 group is probably less than 1% (2% for all ages). Youth under 18 presently constitute 15% of the prison population(Daily News 1999). Eight percent of those convicted for serious offences in 1996 were between 7 and 17 years of age and 14% between 18-20 (National Youth Commission 1999). Repeat offenders are more frequently convicted and imprisoned than school-age children under 18 years of age. Yet sixty percent of repeat offenders committed their first crimes by the age of 19 and 82% by the age of 25. This supports the view that low conviction rates of youth could skew the figures toward an older profile of the youth perpetrator. Flisher, Ziervogel, Chalton and Robertson (1993) suggest a key reason why the lifestyles of male youths create a great risk for violence and criminality: "The lifestyles of adolescents involve a greater degree of exploration, experimentation, and rebellion than those of other age groups". Male youths take risks to define a social image, achieve social status and fulfill other developmental practices. About 34% of the SA population was under 15 in 1996 and on the basis of age demographics alone, the crime rate could increase by as much as 5% in the next decade (Daily News 1999). This clearly tells us that an urgent intervention must be made with school-going youth presently under 15 or the exponential upward curve will spiral out of control. Race Since youth are at highest risk of becoming both a victim and a perpetrator, populations with a high percentage of youth are likely to suffer the most youth crime. Blacks with 39% of the population overall (National Youth Commission 1998) constitute both a majority and have the highest percentage of youth (77%). It is extremely likely that most perpetrators would be Black, based on these demographics alone. The Coloured and Indian populations (10% and 3% of the population respectively) have a higher percentage of youth (74.5% and 70.9% respectively) than the 58.8% among the White population (Central Statistical Services, et al, 1999). With age and population taken as risk factors, the largest expected number of perpetrators on the street should then come in this order of population groupings: African, Coloured, White, and Indian. 12
The Human Science Research Council (1996) however showed that Coloured offenders, especially regarding sex crimes, exceed their proportion in the population. Therefore it seems likely that the coloured population runs the highest risk of producing violent and criminal youth as a percentage of their population. A census of youth in prison (Department of Correctional Services 1997) provides numerical evidence that Black and Coloured males are the groups most at risk of committing crimes of an economical, aggressive, or sexual nature.
Sex and Gender
Gender features prominently as a risk factor. Males are more likely to perpetrate crimes than women. The Department of Correctional Services (1997) offers a `Profile of Sentenced Juveniles" based on a simple count of juveniles in custody according to gender, age, and race which points to an enormous gender gap in terms of economic, aggressive, and sexual crimes. The numbers in custody suggest that Black males (total=4,345) are 40 times more likely to commit an economic crime than females (total=98) and 557 times more like to commit a sexual offence (females-2; males-1,114).
These statistics are supported by American literature which states that most acts of violence in the United States are also done by or to males (Pollock 1998). A great deal of the violence suffered falls into the category of risk taking behaviour gone wrong:
78% of unintentional deaths of youth result from motor accidents, of these 75%
are young men
males are 400% more likely to be murdered than females
suicide is the third leading cause of death amongst people aged 15-24 with the
rate of male suicides being four times that of the female rate
after the age of 2 boys get injured up to four times more than girls
The loss or absence of a traditional father figure may also play a role in making boys into perpetrators. Ramphele (1995) says that the father role offers space in male culture for emotions like humiliation, loneliness and pain, and self-critical thought that can reinforce the ego against anxiety. Ramphele (1995) notes that the absence of the parental role model leads to denied emotions that can erupt into aggressive behaviour.
William Pollock (1998) argues that both parental and societal assumptions and attitudes about how to raise boys also creates the psychology of male violence. Firstly, shame is used in the `toughening up' process by which it is assumed boys need to be raised. Boys are made to feel guilty and ashamed about feelings of weakness, vulnerability and fear. Second, there is emphasis on the boy's emotional separation from his mother at an unnecessarily early age. Boys are told that "big boys don't cry" or "don't be a mama's boy". Shame is at the heart of how others behave towards boys on playing fields, schools, and in homes. Shame - the feelings of isolation and humiliation resulting in emotional disconnection. Rather than expose themselves to potent embarrassment, boys, in the face of shame, will engage in a variety of behaviours that range from
avoidance of dependency to impulsive action, from bravado to rage filled outbursts to intense violence. Many studies link peer pressure and the need for some power and status among peers as a major cause of youth crime (Segal 1999). The male need to be seen as brave, doing stuff with your friends, and having the `right' girlfriend can lead to criminal incidents. This is true for all South African boys but is aggravated by township conditions where poverty and deprivation make feelings of self-esteem and power among peers difficult to achieve. One case study looking at the connection between coercive sex and notions of masculinity among impoverished Xhosa speaking youth (Wood and Jewkes 1999) found that sexual aggression can be a vehicle for gaining `respect' and `position' among peers where there are limited opportunities to gain respect, a feeling of success, or selfesteem. Most of the young men admitted to abusing their sexual partners in both physical and verbal ways and that fights between men were most commonly rivalry for a highly desirable girlfriend. This means that within environments where prestige, respect, and a sense of self-esteem are limited resources, violence can emerge. In such environments, male aggression against women can even be seen as `normal' and be widely tolerated since it can elevate rather than lower a male's standing among peers. Both Motsei (1998) and Segal (1999) found in their studies that perpetrators often cite women as the reason for committing a crime. For instance, there is the need to impress a girl through material acquisition. Sometimes violent fighting breaks out as a boy tries to retain `ownership' of a girlfriend and the belief exists among some boys that if they are paying for things, the women then belongs to them. In Motsei's interviews with young black men, ages 16 to 25, in Alexandra Township, nearly all the young men believed that most crime and violence was about girls and the need to impress them. Some said that if your girl goes with another guy, the easy solution is to shoot that guy to avoid ridicule and protect your manhood and dignity. Morrell (1998) and Xaba (1997) both argue that in townships, violence has become such an accepted part of student masculinity that it explains most high school student involvement in violent crime. In particular, gang membership is a way for boys to gain esteem and power among peers while also finding a sense of belonging and acceptance (Segal 1999). Segal points to the alienation felt by Black students now attending Model C schools and how `doing crime' is one way of reestablishing their credibility within the township. Motsei (1998) said that Alexandra youth saw crime as fashionable and successful criminals were seen as heroes. These findings show that interventions designed to make families more functional, to help males understand their identity and societal role, and to eliminate patriarchy by teaching life skills that stress gender and diversity issues can play a significant part in breaking the cycle of violence. It is noteworthy in this context that African schools are often patriarchal and female students experience sexual harassment by male teachers, boys, and gangs when walking to and from school (Griggs, 1997; Harber 1998). 14
Location The most common attempt to employ location as a risk factor is to cite the culture of violence in townships and informal settlements. There are also references to urban factors as a pattern of youth violence. There are also attempts to compare provinces with regard to youth violence but this may be problematic. The culture of violence is not exclusive to townships and informal settlements but it may have become particularly virulent there for historic reasons already cited and because poverty and unemployment help to fuel it. One must note that townships and informal settlements are where many of the Black and Coloured populations have concentrated. These are the groups that experience many risk factors for violent crime including the highest unemployment levels which is officially 37% for Blacks and 32.4% for Coloureds (Central Statistical Services, et al 1999). These groups also have the highest levels of poverty--47.2% for Blacks and 18.5% for the Coloured population (Central Statistical Services, et al 1999). The inability to offer a decent family life is widely offered as a key reason for violence in townships and informal settlements. The impermanence of illegal squatting, poverty, the lack of facilities, and violence so burdened family lives that it appeared almost impossible to properly nurture and socialise children in a healthy and satisfying way (McKendrick 1991). Marks (1992) simply asserts that "the various areas of township's youths lives have almost completely broken down, particularly the family and the schools". A case study by Mehlwana (1994) confirms the same problems for a Cape Flats family who moved six times in ten years, never spending more than two years in one place. They moved most often owing to reasons of political violence. In that diaspora, identity becomes obscure and criminality propers while law enforcement has no access. The location of schools within townships is quite problematic for several reasons. Firstly, these communities are often too disadvantaged to support a quality education leading to unemployment, a key factor promoting violence and crime. Secondly, the number of drop-outs or out of school children in townships is generally high, a factor that may lead to youth crime (Porteus, et al. 1998). Motsei (1998) adds that in the absence of legitimate employment in the impoverished townships, an alternative market based in stolen goods, guns, and drugs is given space to flourish. This feeds into the cycle of violence that affects families, schools, and community. Township schools are also exposed to higher levels of externally-based crime (especially gangs). A Durban-based study (Griggs 1997) showed that the situation of schools in disadvantaged areas often leads to the presence of gangs within the school grounds. This caused direct violence (assaults, rapes and even murder), disrupts schooling, and attracts school children into gangs and becoming surrogate criminals. Factors associated with urbanisation (e.g., social breakdown, alienation) are also used to explain youth violence. Much of this literature is theoretical based on the concept that urban areas lead to `anomie' a form of social breakdown in which isolation and alienation result (Marks 1992). Part of this may owe to migration to the cities which 15
leads to a concentration of males and a higher proportion of 26-35 year olds within urban areas (National Youth Commission 1999). While crime levels in urban areas appear to be notably higher, the propensity of urban areas per se to create criminality is an unresolved international debate. Sometimes youth violence is compared at the scale of provinces to develop a risk profile but this can be problematic owing to both the complexity of violence and questions about statistics. The high risk youth might be concentrated in KwaZuluNatal where 22% of the population are under 15 and the Eastern Cape where 19.5% are under 15 years of age (Central Statistical Services, et al, 1999) However, Gauteng (18% youth) reports higher youth crime figures than the Eastern Cape (NEDCOR 1999). This may indicate that rural youth are less prone to violence or it could indicate that crimes are better reported in Gauteng. For instance, Sharon Lewis (1997) found that rape and violent assault occur frequently in the Northern province tribal areas but are not always considered to be crimes. Rape, especially, was seen as a part of daily life. Victimisation Both international and South African studies show that a history of victimisation is a key risk factor for those who become perpetrators. Often the perpetrator was a victim of crime and abuse from an early age (Children's Safety Network 1996; Segal 1999; Wolmaranns, Seef and Jacobz 1994) and particularly in the family environment (Wolmaranns, Seef and Jacobz 1994). Atnafou (1995) shows, using U.S. examples, how children exposed to violence on a daily basis especially in chronically violent homes can become violent within the community. Community violence then leads to further trauma and a numbness to violent acts. Atnafou points to surveys in three U.S. cities, Chicago, New Orleans, and Birmingham where between one-third and one-half of primary school-age children surveyed had seen someone shot or stabbed. As many as 90% of the children of battered women actually witnessed the abuse of their mothers. This is of concern when research shows that at least 50% of the children exposed to such trauma before the age of ten will develop psychiatric problems. A Canadian study found that 82% of women in prison had been abused as children (The National Crime Prevention Council of Canada, 1995). Henderson (1992) who conducted studies of youth violence in New Crossroads reports that beating children is common practice in townships and informal settlements. In interviews, many adults stated that they have the right to admonish children physically even if these are not their own children. "...even if children are not behaving badly but are considered to be in the way, they will be displaced with a beating." This has adverse consequences for society and helps to produce violent youth because children who are beaten by their parents are driven to the conclusion that "personal relationships are shaped by the ability of the powerful to enforce their will on the powerless whose fate it is to submit." 16
While the victim-perpetrator cycle is universal and affects all segments of South Africa's population, disadvantaged communities seem to suffer the most. Families Broken homes and dysfunctional families are two of the most commonly identified social factors in turning youth to crime (Segal 1999; Wolmaranns, Seef, and Jacobz 1994). Lauren Segal (1999) rates a dysfunctional family life as being the most important factor in producing criminality. Youth perpetrators often have family backgrounds in which they were abused, emotionally and physically neglected or removed from their primary families for some reason or even abandoned to become street children. Some researchers like Smit and Maphatane (Undated) or Henderson (1995) argue that the nuclear family may be breaking down just like the extended family before it. Mobility, divorce, impersonal bureaucracies, changing norms and values, and family pathology are creating intense pressures on this institution. To make their point, Smit and Maphatane point to the increasing number of street children as a by-product of family breakdown. Most come from broken, single parent homes. They arrive on the street for two basic reasons: (1) desertion by the parent; or (2) children take to the streets because of alcoholism, abuse, and violence in the home. The death of one or both parents from AIDS is an increasingly common South African phenomenon. Children watch a parent die and then endure the subsequent economic hardship of a life alone on the streets. A UK study (Daily News 1999) shows that more than half of violent crime is committed by people who had lost one or both parents. Abandonment by the father figure alone especially challenges male adolescent development and can result in aggressive and violent behaviour in South African youth (Mitscherlich 1993; Ramphele 1995). School Performance and Drop-outs A strong link between school performance and perpetrators of violence should help schools identify strategies to ensure that all children are given the opportunity of reaching their potential. Crime Concern (1995) "The Prevention of Criminality" a briefing paper for crime prevention partnerships states that pupils, especially boys, who underperform or fail at school are more likely to become involved in delinquent behaviour than those who succeed. Wolmaranns, Seef and Jacobz (1994) concur that perpetrators of violence are often drop-outs or those with poor academic records. Flisher and Chalton (1995) noted that the drop-out rate for Blacks in 1990 was 33.6% and for Coloured population it was 60.2%. The researchers argue that the true extent of the problem for Blacks was obscured here since many dropped out at primary level or never attended school at all. They propose a 72.1% drop-out rate if primary and high school data are combined. McKendrick (1991) who studied Phola Park found that only 47% of school-age children were in school because of the high cost, difficulty of transport, inability to pay for bus fare and violence. In any case, a high rate of South African adolescents, particularly the Black and Coloured population, are being exposed 17
to the adverse consequences of not completing their schooling including poorer mental health, reduced probability of employment and inadequate income. For society, this results in higher crime rates. Substance abuse Drug and alcohol abuse are widely identified as a source of increased crime and violence among youth (Children's Safety Network, 1996; National Youth Commission 1997; Daily News 1999). Drugs are intrinsically connected to violent crime owing to conflicts over drug sales, drug usage and changes in behaviour. Rape, murder, sexual assault occurred mainly over holiday periods and at weekends when drug usage is also high. Flisher and Reddy (1995) report that substance abuse also removes inhibitions resulting in unsafe behaviour. Schurink (1996) in an Human Science Research Council study found that male youths who indulged in alcohol and drugs are frequent perpetrators of crimes. There is even a link between drug abuse and homicide since it is easier to kill when under the influence of drugs (Motsei 1998). The School A large portion of the child's life is spent at school and the school has the potential to positively mould the life of learners and provide a microcosm of a healthy society , yet schools have contributed to the perpetuation of violence in four major ways. These include: 1. The historic experience of schools as a locus of violence Schools were central to the liberation struggle and the culture of learning was abandoned for a militaristic cultural orientation especially during the 1980s. Although the struggle has ended, this culture continues because violence, or the threat of violence, offer youth the power to effect change as witnessed by their historic experience. This has already been discussed in some detail in the section on the `culture of violence'. 2. The use of corporal punishment Corporal punishment is still widely used, especially in former townships, even though it is illegal. This enforces the belief that violence is a legitimate means of effecting change. It is also part of an authoritarian system that prevents children from experiencing the effects of democratic management. Children may face constant exposure to violence at the hands of their teachers. In one survey carried out in the 1980s, 89% of a sample of first year university students reported that they had been physically punished at some point in their school career (Harber 1998). It should be noted that although the study referred to above was carried out in the 1980s, when corporal punishment was legally allowed, there are no indications that the situation has changed to any great extent. The literature also indicates that this practice will continue unless teachers are given alternative methods of ensuring discipline and are convinced of the negative impact of using physical punishment. 18
There is complete agreement in all the reviewed literature regarding the failure of corporal punishment to achieve any long term, authentic change in the behaviour of youth (Robinson 1998). This has been known since the 18th Century when Johann Pestalozzi (1746-1827) who, after working with Swiss street children, abolished flogging in favour of criticising a youth's behaviour with kindness. Therefore one can cite a long history of literature documenting the failings of corporal punishment. For instance, children learn that hitting is how adults solve their problems or love becomes equated with violence. However, western models of rehabilitation are based on the concept of `payback' so that an entire paradigm shift regarding the meaning of justice is necessary in order to replace corporal punishment with more effective alternatives (Brendtro and Long, 1998). 3. Authoritarian management and a patriarchal culture African schools along with the majority of schools elsewhere have been essentially authoritarian institutions with power firmly in the hands of teachers, with little student participation. Classrooms are overwhelmingly teacher centred with teachers frequently using harsh methods of control - public ridicule and the use of corporal punishment. African schools are also profoundly patriarchal with female students at the bottom of the hierarchy. One disturbing feature is the widespread evidence of sexual harassment and especially of female students by male teachers. In one study in the Durban area in which 25 cases of abuse were recorded they ranged from sexual suggestions to actual intercourse by teachers with students aged between 11 and 13 years (Harber 1998). 4. Conflict associated with transformation The massive process of transformation from apartheid education to a democratic and inclusive one has undermined networks of authoritarian power but has not yet fully replaced it with systems of democratic management (Harber 1998). This lack of leadership provides an opportunity for violent and criminal youth who seek to assert themselves. Transformation also involves processes of racial integration and sweeping changes that are difficult for both educators and learners and when there is an absence of effective management this leads to absenteeism, disinterest, lowered morale and other problems that undermine discipline. As formerly segregated schools integrate, racial prejudice is a factor that can lead to both verbal and physical violence. Vally and Dalamba (1999) examined ninety schools, ten from each province, to determine levels of integration, problems of racial prejudice, school policies, and to develop guidelines and recommendations. Of these schools, 62% reported racial incidents ranging from racial name-calling to one case of a racially inspired murder. Nearly half of the schools (48%) had no policy or programme to eliminate racism and only 36% reported successful programmes to eliminate it. 19
4.2 Profile for youth who do not become violent : The Resilience Factors Recently, attempts have been made to turn the question around and ask not what makes a perpetrator, but what resilience factors can help ensure that a child does NOT become victim or a perpetrator? Resilience may have a definition in the dictionary, but in terms of youth violence it is a complex, socially interactive process. For the child it is about interaction with people, a feeling of being heard and supported by someone or something. (Schurink 1994). Many factors of resilience have been identified by various individuals, researchers and organisations. Below an itemised list of factors supporting resilience in children. 1. Resilient children tend to come from families which are nurturing, accepting and sensitive. There tends to be open discussion and feedback on their behaviour at home and family ties are strong and supporting. This includes close early bonding with the mother. They also tend to have a close extended family - grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins as well as friends and neighbours (NC P C Canada 1995, Stavrou, P 1993, Friedman and Shmukler 1989). 2. Resilient children also have several common characteristics - they have self esteem, are optimistic, competent, trusting, hopeful, self reliant, hardy, social, curious, assertive, compassionate and capable of conceptualising. These children tend to have strong individual characteristics and are able to express themselves, show age appropriate development and are relatively successful at school. They also tend to be good problem solvers. (Apfel R and Simon B, 1999; Werner and Smith 1983; Garmezy 1991) 3. Resilient children are well adjusted socially and have good interpersonal skills they use their teachers as mentors and role models and are able to attract support and attention. They also tend to be active in their family or church or community or involved in sport (Apfel R and Simon B, 1999; Pollock W 1998; National Crime Prevention Council Canada 1998 ) 4. Resilient children are emotionally in touch with themselves, are able to tell right from wrong and are able to be in touch with a wide range of feelings without being overwhelmed by one--neither too happy nor too sad (Apfel R and Simon B, 1999) Many of the factors of resilience would appear to be innate or a matter of luck such as having good parents. However, well functioning schools and other social institutions can help create a form of social cohesion that prevent youth from becoming involved in self-destructive activities like crime and drug abuse (Dawes and Donald 1999). Strengthening the links between families and schools can also help support the parents as protectors of children. For instance, close monitoring of children in high risk neighbourhoods not only reduces the frequency of victimisation but can have a positive impact on a child's emotional development.(Dawes and Donald 1999). This close monitoring can provide a "container" for the children feelings of anger and alienation, (McKay 1999) 20
Section Three: Interventions Associated with Crime Prevention In reading the literature regarding interventions which are occurring within South Africa, some key issues emerge. One is the lack of any form of co ordination between various service providers. The majority of interventions occur in isolation at a local or regional level. The sharing of information between organisations, regarding the interventions being run, occurs on a very limited basis if at all. It was particularly striking for us, as an organisation which has been involved in providing school based interventions over the last 9 years, that although we knew of the majority of the organisations, we have had only a limited interaction with a few of them and none with most others. This means that a potentially valuable opportunity to share information regarding processes, successes and also failures, is being missed. Another issue which stands out is the extremely high contribution being made by non government organisations in terms of programmes being delivered and services offered. This is in complete contrast to the scarcity of interventions being delivered by government departments, especially the Department of Education. Although it must be said that the policy documents and recommended interventions from Government are excellent and in line with both local and international literature. The information within the literature regarding interventions associated with crime prevention is predominantly written by the organisation or agency which has, or intends to, implement the programme or project. One of the consequences of this is that the material is frequently used to validate a particular approach or methodology rather than provide an objective evaluation. This is not to say that the interventions have no worth but rather that the information should be read with this internal bias in mind. An objective evaluation is needed if we are to determine, with any degree of certainty, which models are effective in reducing crime. This constitutes one of the key recommendations of this report and is discussed in the final section on recommendations and gaps in research. What is apparent is that no one intervention offers a solution to the problem of school based crime. Literature is unanimous in recommending the implementation of broad based interventions, involving schools, families, communities and other support agencies. One example from a USA publication specialising in violence prevention in educational settings notes that "...since school violence is not just a school problem but also a community and societal problem, its solution has to draw in a wider circle of participation." (Ascher 1998) This sentiment is supported by South African researchers. Zwane (1997) of the Centre for Study of Violence and Reconciliation says "that for a sustained intervention it is necessary to interact with and positively influence all other spheres of a child's life. Treating children in isolation from their support system can be detrimental to our efforts and to the children themselves". This receives further support from Jackson (1994) when he notes that wellcoordinated multi-faceted policies across departments, communities, schools and organisations are needed because of the complex and interrelated set of factors that produce juvenile offenders. 21
Within the literature there are a broad and wide-ranging list of interventions, as can be demonstrated in an edited volume on preventing juvenile offending by Jackson (1994). The numerous suggestions include the following: # the prevention of child abuse since offenders often have a history of abuse # the prevention of family violence since violent childhoods often produce violent offenders # the creation of a wide range of family support services since any emotional or physical neglect of children helps produce a child at social risk # early detection of child abuse or child neglect and reporting to the relevant authorities # improvements in the social justice system so that children as agents in criminal activities does not go unaddressed # shelters and support for street children so they are not forced to turn to crime # long-term employment planning so that parents can provide supportive environments # crime prevention programmes in schools (preferably formulated by the youth themselves) # mass media campaigns aimed at education # training in parenting since dysfunctional families are a common background to juvenile offenders # schools should be personalised and be like a family rather than depersonalised bureaucracies to bridge the gap between the home and the school, create a sense of belonging that raises self esteem, and to create a supportive environment # schools should be open to the community and used as community support systems in order to bridge the gap between community and schools # co-operative learning arrangements in schools has seen a reduction in levels of juvenile offending and therefore should be applied. # reshaping the entire school curriculum and setting in order to create a community school that aims at the whole person rather than rote learning. This package includes participatory decision-making, learning in teams, a shared value system, interactive teaching, individual attention, peer counselling, and parental and community involvement. As you can see from the foregoing, the range of possible in-school interventions is vast, however, most interventions can be categorised according to the site of delivery. These are within the family, the school and the community. According to the literature available the following interventions are those which are most commonly recommended by a broad range of organisations and individuals or are those which have resulted in evidence which supports their value in preventing or reducing the risk factors associated with criminality. It should be stressed that no single intervention will stop crime. There is an urgent need for a multi layered, multi sectoral co ordinated approach to the problem. 1. The Family Family level interventions could be described as falling into two main groups, long term and short/medium term. Firstly, long term interventions: these aim to improve the skills 22
of parents of pre adolescent children. The second type of intervention is aimed at providing support to families of adolescent youth who are at risk or already involved in criminal activity. These could be considered short or medium term interventions.
Parenting Skills - A long term approach
In relation to parenting skills we found little South African literature or research and would recommend that this is an area for further research. In contrast there was an abundance of material from the United States and Canada where research consistently links poor parenting and the development of aggression and violent behaviour. Poor parenting in one study is defined as a multitude of behaviours including excessive use of physical punishment, inconsistent or overly harsh discipline, lack of interest.(Atnafou 1996)
In addition study after study has shown that small children who have a close relationship with their primary caregiver - so called securely attached children - are psychologically stronger and healthier. Alan Stroufe, in a study at the University of Minnesota, found that those who in their infancy were securely attached to their mothers may enjoy greater self reliance, have lower rates of psycho pathology, do better at school, and have higher self esteem throughout their lives. (Pollock 1998)
This is supported by a further study (Baer 1999) which confirms the value of parental monitoring in preventing anti-social adolescent behaviour. The U. S.-based study focussed on seventh, eighth, and ninth grade school children from three different ethnic groups (Euro-American, Afro-American, and Mexican-American). The sample included 7,411 children in total. Basically, in all cases where there was good cohesion and communication between children and their mothers, the chance of deviance was greatly reduced. For Euro-American ethnic groups, cohesion and communication with the father also had a significant effect on reducing anti-social behaviour. However, the connection was less significant for paternal monitoring especially among AfricanAmerican and Mexican-American households. This means that for violence prevention efforts the mother may be the most significant person to target.
While the above mentioned literature is exclusively from the USA it would appear to have relevance within the South African situation although this requires more localised research. An important consideration based on these findings is the possible long term impact of mother - child separation as caused by AIDS related deaths (Daily News 1999)
Interventions aimed at dealing with this risk factor covered in the literature were again predominantly USA based and showed extremely positive results in terms a marked reduction of child abuse and neglect. While this would indicate the potential of long term crime prevention, no scientific evidence is available at this point.
The types of intervention available at present are along the lines of a parenting programme called STAR, based on the acronym given and including these elements:
Stop :
slow down parental responses to children to ensure a proper response
Think :
after stopping, parents should think about appropriate responses rather than reacting
Ask :
parents are taught to ask about the fairness of their expectations
Respond : here an appropriate response is given based on both nurturing and appropriate discipline.
One study (Nicholson, Brenner, Viktor and Fox 1999) evaluated the effectiveness of this programme amongst 143 low-income parents of children aged one to five. Seventy-one mothers who completed the ten week programme (one hour per week) decreased the verbal and physical abuse of their children. Since incidents of child abuse are linked to violence among youth, it is reasonable to suppose that better parenting skills are vital to the struggle to create violence and crime-free schools. In fact, according to the authors, the best predictor of anti-social behaviour in youth is a history of abuse as young children. The study clearly points to a successful parenting skills training programme that is part of a successful package of reducing youth violence in the long term.
Another form of intervention is the use of the home visitation scheme whereby social workers or community nursing sisters visit high risk families. The focus is on high risk families who have a new infant, and families who are expecting one and offer support, as well as a referral service, training, information sharing and health care options. In several evaluative studies of such programmes all showed substantial decreases in abuse and neglect of young children (Atnafou 1996). Key issues here seem to be empathetic support, escape from isolation and increase in information. The need to control the child and a desire for instant results appeared to be the key competitors against the use of alternatives to corporal punishment. The studies highlighted the value of these programmes operating out of state agencies and community centres as they cost less than the high costs accrued by the state for the incarceration and rehabilitation of youth who have succumbed to crime and violence.
An impediment to the replication of programmes such as these in the South African environment is the reliance by these models on ready access to large numbers of professionals, the extensive use of volunteers and well resourced government agencies.
Family Support - Medium or Short Term Approach
A South African example of this type of intervention is NICRO's Family Group Conference (FGC), which forms part of the NICRO diversion options available to courts where NICRO is active. In the FGC process the victim, the offender and their families are brought together in a joint problem solving process to redress the harm caused by the crime committed. This programme operates from the philosophy that families have unparalled strengths to deal with their youth-in-trouble, but in many cases have relinquished their power. FGC's aim is to give the power back to families so they play their rightful role in supporting their children. (Muntigh, Lukus 1998)
.2. School-level interventions
The school as the locus of violence has been discussed at length in the earlier part of this document under "Culture of Violence and Schools" and so we will not repeat these arguments here. We will rather focus on school led interventions which can lead to the creation of a safe school.
2.1 The Safe School
Much has been written concerning the criteria for a school that is responsive to all children and thereby has the potential to act as a buffer to violence and criminal behaviour. One publication captures many of the accepted suggestions. "Early warning, timely Response" (US Department of Education 1998) defines a `safe school' as one that:
involves families in a meaningful way
develops links to the community including police and religious groups
emphasises positive relationships among learners and staff
focusses on academic achievement for all, while appreciating differences
is seen to treat all students fairly across racial, ethnic and gender divides
creates ways in which students can safely convey their concerns and where they feel
safe in expressing their feelings
offers extended day care programmes after and before school
promotes good citizenship and character by modelling this behaviour
discusses issues openly (ie how to deal with anger, conflict resolving skills)
actively identifies problems and assesses progress towards solutions
Another publication "Gaining Control of Violence in the Schools" (ERIC , 1998) identifies various strategies which can be used to create the safe school described above:
In service and pre service teacher training - all school staff need to know how to address problems of violence in the classroom. For example, how should an adult behave when a student is armed and what are the most effective methods of diffusing potential conflict? In addition teachers need to be better prepared to teach socialisation skills and non violent methods of conflict resolution.
In school programmes designed to improve students self esteem, interpersonal skills , conflict handling skills, problem solving and co operative behaviour etc.
Reaching out to parents - parenting hotlines, literacy programmes for parents, adult education courses on school premises.
Dealing with the aftermath of violence - students who have witnessed violence need help to allow them to deal with their confusion, grief and anger. Where resources are available counselling is offered over a long term period as well as support training to change future behaviour.
Safe School Plan - a number of schools are developing plans and strategies to implement safe schools. These work best when they are generated not only by school staff, but also by parents and representatives from community groups and agencies. Every schools plan looks different but the key is to involve all stakeholders in the development of it.
The interventions proposed above are in line with all the recommendations in both the USA, Canadian, Australian and South African literature and again reiterate the fact that a safe school is about whole school management and is more about the way in which the school operates than just setting up an "add on" programme to defuse violence.
The school interventions which are covered within the literature can largely be grouped into 6 categories and while none of these interventions can be said to be more effective than any other, literature supports the contention that the most effective long term effect would be attained through a multi pronged approach encompassing a wide variety of complementary interventions. Nevertheless if one target group had to be identified as key to all in school interventions it would be the teaching staff. (Matthews, 1999)
2.2 Conflict management and related education and training
In a survey amongst young people motivating comments for conflict resolution programmes being part of a school curriculum or presented in school settings suggested, inter alia, that
this was the forum for reaching the greatest number of young people
every child would have an opportunity to learn conflict management skills
skills could be progressively reinforced in school settings
the subject was a component of "all round" education (Dovey 1996 128-150)
It should be noted that literature unanimously supports the teaching of good conflict resolving skills for these help promote the self esteem of youth and contribute to his or her resilience to external factors.
One such programme is the SMART (Schools Mediation and Reconciliation Training) run by the Independent Projects Trust in schools in the KwaZulu Natal region. This programme is designed to work with teachers, students and school governing bodies to assist them in developing effective dispute and conflict managing skills. An independent evaluation of the first year noted that the SMART programme had been overwhelmingly received by schools and had contributed to a greater team spirit and more conducive learning environment (Foulis and Anderson, 1995). Further research revealed that conflict management skills training makes a significant difference at both personal and organisational levels. Surveys revealed that close to 100% of programme recipients reported benefits from training. (IPT 1997:10).
While conflict management skills training can play a significant role in improving the skills of both youth and teachers in handling conflict non violently, it should be part of a broader based intervention strategy. As noted by Caine and Matthews (1998:124)
"teaching conflict management skills alone is not adequate to combat the problem of violence in the schools" but must be part of an integrated state led strategy. From the large number of programmes of this nature which are offered by numerous organisations throughout South Africa, (Dovey 1996 : 128-150) and the inclusion of problem solving components in the Critical Outcomes of Curriculum 2005, it would appear that type of intervention will be readily accepted. 2.3 Preventative programmes other than conflict management These interventions involve the provision of programmes which encourage youth to make healthy choices, and which include anti drug programmes, AIDS awareness, gender and sexuality training, and bias awareness programmes. Literature suggests that adolescents who make healthy choices and choose low risk behaviour are less "at risk" than peers who chose to live dangerously. Programmes which promote healthy lifestyles can act as a buffer for this group. Studies also indicate that there is a high correlation between alcohol and substance abuse and unsafe behaviour.(Flisher, and Reddy 1995 and Schurink, 1996) and substance abuse has been identified as a risk factor for criminality.(Childrens Safety Network, 1996; National Youth Commission 1997; Daily News 1999) One study looking at the high level of gender violence and coercive sex among South African adolescents argues that "developing interventions in adolescent sexual health promotion constitutes a key challenge in the improvement of health status in South Africa". Forced sex contributes to unwanted pregnancy, the spread of HIV, and female reproductive problems. The appropriate intervention suggested is sexual education through the school curriculum that will allow for alternative constructions of love and sexual practice. Men especially should be the focus of interventions because coercive sex is widely practised among males in poorer communities resulting in public health problems (Wood, 1998). 2.4 Democratic school management A key goal of education should be to foster democracy because democracy provides the best environment for the non-violent solutions of disputes and conflicts. (Harber 1998) Autocratic management utilising fear, coercion and power with little student participation in classroom or school decision making, supports the cycle of victim to perpetrator within society. This value is supported by the South African Schools Act of 1996 which legislates that schools should be democratically run and provides for the establishment of School Governing Bodies to fulfil this purpose. School management built on democratic principles will be able to reduce the risk of violence within the school and unite the school to withstand outside threats, eg. gangsterism. (CASS/IPT 1999) Literature is unanimous in recognising the school as probably the most important setting for human development outside the home and it is there that we learn ways of 27
interacting socially which we carry into our adult lives. With the preponderance of dysfunctional families, a democratically run school can protect children from the risks of criminality and victimisation by providing an environment which supports and develops resilience. (National Crime Prevention Council 1995). A final comment of this comes from a report of the evaluation of 500 crime prevention programmes running in the USA. This study found that very few `programmes' actually reduced violence, delinquency and disorder in schools. However there was a high level of correlation between school management and the levels of disorder they experience. Schools in which the administration and faculty communicate and work together to plan for change and solve problems have higher teacher morale and less disorder. Schools in which students notice clear rules, reward structures and unambiguous sanctions also experience less disorder" (National Association of Child Care Workers 1999). 2.5 Alternative methods of discipline The suggestion of alternatives to corporal punishment may seem a moot point when the act itself has been outlawed. However, the change in rules has not been translated into a change of practice. Since a large proportion of adolescent behaviour is modelled on the behaviour of adults in power it is vital that teachers use non violent methods of discipline (Vally, 1996). The Quakers have long promoted the use of "positive discipline" which is more about co operation and reward than about coercion and punishment and provide material for teachers (Quaker Peace Centre, 1998). Literature notes that lasting and meaningful behavioural change in youth is only possible if our focus is on leading them to something better rather than on eliminating undesirable behaviours.(Bath, 1998) While the literature indicates that as far back as 1995 the Gauteng Department of Education had promoted a campaign on alternatives to corporal punishment, we came across no information about the outcome of this nor any similar initiatives. There remains a dearth of locally produced material for teachers in alternatives to corporal punishment and many teachers feel disempowered. As one teacher notes "they have taken away corporal punishment and given us nothing in its place - our hands are tied" (Gannon, 1998). A key intervention required is in-service training for teachers in relationship building and co operative methods of discipline which provides teachers with the skills and knowledge to run democratic classrooms, a key to outcomes based education. As one teacher puts it "the relationship is not your best tool, it's your only tool" (Gannon, 1998) 2.6 Counselling and Guidance Services In South Africa, the exposure of young people to violence has reached epidemic proportions with an alarmingly high proportion of youth having to face daily crises alone and without support. 28
A growing body of research indicates that children who witness violence, whether in their homes or their communities, can suffer serious psychological consequences.(Segal 1999; Wolmaranns, Seef and Jacobz 1994). People experiencing violence are more apt to be involved in the future as victims and as perpetrators unless we assist them in dealing with these experiences - steps that can help "debrief" from a violent experience reduce the likelihood of the cycle of violence being perpetuated (Atnafou, 1995). It is within this arena the services of a well trained guidance teacher could be utilised most effectively. Simultaneous to the documented increased levels of violence, budget cut backs have forced the retrenchment of many Guidance Teachers, which leaves "at risk" youth without the support of adults who can be "containers" of their frustrations and act as communicators for their feelings - (McKay, 1999). One example of an intervention which attempted to deal with this issues is a cooperative project between Chatsworth's Aryan Benevolent Home and a local primary school. Child care workers from the home provided three hours per day of assistance to ten children, ages 6-12, over a two month period as a pilot project. Of these children, six found the programme to be supportive and felt more comfortable with these child care workers than with teachers. The school staff also recorded more attentiveness, less evidence of trauma, less social deviance, less truancy and an increased responsibility for completing assignments. Four children felt embarrassed and "labelled" because of peer pressure or a perceived stigma attached to seeing a `youth and child care worker'. The interviewed workers believed the stigma would be removed if they had access to entire classrooms and not just the ten learners selected for the study. The positive response by both the community and school indicates that this cooperation will see increasing levels of success. 2.7 Environmental One of the principal ways to combat school crime and violence is to make sure that the school premises are physically secure.(CASS/IPT 1999) This control of the school premises should entail the security of the people on the school premises by controlling the movement of people through the school premises. It should also ensure that there is control and restriction regarding weapons, firearms and drugs. While these measure alone will not ensure a safe school in the broadest sense they are key short term measures which should not be neglected. A secondary issue around environmental interventions is the impact on learners and teachers of improved facilities and more user friendly buildings. There is general agreement that dirty, broken and unattractive surroundings are depressing and demoralising and not conducive to good behaviour or performance. Some interventions described in the literature involved a combination of two or more of the categories above. One example is a "partnership" which was formed during a pilot project in six Sowetan schools where the CSVR offered workshops, counselling services, and established 29
additional partnerships between the schools and outside organisations (e.g., SANCA). The workshops offered were largely informational and covered these topics:
violence: its causes, nature, and effects on individuals and the larger community
identifying symptoms of trauma in children
coping skills for teachers
The CSVR also attempted to establish violence intervention coordinating committees in the township schools but largely found that these did not meet regularly nor did the participants maintain their interest. It was found that a single staff volunteer, who "championed" the programme worked better but was not ideal.
This study was largely aimed at identifying forms of intervention that could reduce levels of violence in townships and schools. While this was not scientifically proven, the overall the intervention was evaluated as successful by the CSVR because:
support services were established
sensitivity to issues of violence increased
traumatised children were identified and referred
teachers received counselling and trauma training
parents received trauma counselling
schools networked with police, child protection units and other NGOs
This interventions supports the previous supposition that multiple intervention strategies are more effective overall than single focussed ones.
3. Community Interventions While school based interventions have the potential of real success it is important to ensure community involvement in all such programmes since the school is an integral part of the community. While keeping youth in safe while they are at school is one issue, a complementary, and overarching one, is one of actually keeping youth in school. As mentioned earlier a large portion of school violence and crime can be attributed to young men and women who are no longer in school, who are unemployed and who are at risk of becoming further marginalised from society. The failure to teach children to adjust and adapt to their own communities is a striking point that underlines the profile of the violent child, that is, one estranged from the community and behaving in anti-social ways. Relevant school structures and a predictable schedule of interesting activities could assist in reintegrating youth with their communities in positive ways that might reduce crime levels, truancy, and violence (Moloto 1998). Several articles describe programmes which attempt to reintegrate street children into families and schools. One article advocates the use of street workers to identify street kids and truants in order to achieve this. This process is supported by providing physical and emotional support to the families of these young people, imparting parenting skills where necessary, offering physical support like food and clothing, presenting workshops, encouraging community developments such as shelters and providing an advocacy service for youth in trouble with the law (Fortune, David 1998). A preliminary report of the Vuk'uyithathe Research Consortium was commissioned by the Gauteng Department of Education to explore the lives of out-of-school children. These were defined as between the ages of 7 to 15 and out-of-age learners, defined as children older than their grade in school by at least three years. (Porteous et al 1998). While this report nullifies the myth that all out-of-school children are automatically criminals, another report, by the Human Science Research Council, focussing on children who are both on the street daily and are of the street ie permanently deserted by families argues that the creation of street children can lead to problems of violence because of poverty, the tendency toward drugs, the lack of support, and an uncaring environment. Both reports agree that these children need to be rapidly reintegrated into the school system since the longer a child is on the street, the more likely he or she will turn to crime. The HSRC argue that some intervention is required to ensure compulsory school attendance.(Human Science Research Council 1995) Several suggestions were given in these reports with the aim of making schools more child-friendly included recommendations around further training for teachers to inform and enable them in terms of dealing more effectively with children coming from deprived environments. There were also suggestions regarding the development of systems and policies within education which were more "friendly" and accessible to the poor and suggests changes to the curriculum to ensure appropriate and relevant schooling. 31
Schools and communities are interdependent in many ways and several community based interventions appear in the literature which have the potential to impact on school violence. One such community based programme based in Nooitgedacht on the Cape Flats is the Resource Action Group (RAG) which offers youth training in computer literacy, media, leadership skills, personal development, strategic planning and fund-raising. In this programme youth train other youth, a strategy of `each one teach one' which demonstrates that schools might consider adopting the kind of training that offers life skills since these tend to excite learners. As the comment from one of the learners in the Cape Flats study reported, "I have found a reason for living." Interestingly, the programme was not successful in being transplanted to local Black townships where language problems arose yet it has worked well among Cape Flats youth where Afrikaans is spoken.(Altensteadt 1998) In comparison, a programme in the United States called "Community Partnerships for Healthy Children", which is based in a Californian community (National Association of Child Care Workers 1998) involves a neighbourhood community policing programme which supported both police and neighbourhood watches and resulted in a direct decrease in crime as drug dealers and gangs were driven out of the community. In fact, the neighbourhood park that used to be used by the criminals became the site of recreation programmes. The community policing members each take charge of an area of several blocks and make frequent calls on each resident in an exchange of information whereby the residents become walking, talking information centres. These roaming individuals become so well known by neighbourhood residents that they even act as block leaders in times of emergency. This strategy breaks down walls of isolation and replaces gang leaders with acknowledged community leadership, hence filling a power vacuum that the gangs and drug dealers had exploited. Both these interventions show that community action can make a significant difference. In another instance, community intervention focussed on improving community police relations and attempted to support young children who had witnessed violence. These youngsters were subject to several effects of post-traumatic stress disorder including flashbacks, recurring dreams, anxieties, and sleeping difficulties (Whitcomb, 1995). The interventions in this article focussed on better police-community cooperation and included C police members spending three to four hours per week at a Child Study Centre learning about Child Development issues including patterns of psychological disturbance, methods of clinical intervention, and settings for treatment and care C mental health professionals and youth workers joining the police on patrols, in police stations and on the streets C a 10-week seminar for police officers on child development C round-the-clock clinicians and police officers available to respond to children in crisis 32
C weekly meetings between youth care workers and the police 3.1 Wilderness Therapy One other type of intervention raised in the literature is the "wilderness therapy" or outward bound type of therapy for at risk youth. Within South Africa literature there are very positive reports on such interventions which advocate the use of ritual to experience transformation from a negative to more positive self image . These action learning or experiential education processes occur through outdoor activities such as rock climbing, team challenges and solitary time in the wilderness. One such programme run by the National Peace Accord Trust for ex SPU and SDU combatants explains that violence had prevented these youth from being involved in any community sanctioned ritual to establish a role for themselves within the community and the Wilderness Experience provided them with the "ritual" necessary for their reintegration into mainstream society. (Madhlope, Scotch 1994, Nicro 1997 and Gamble, 1998) Although the South African literature speaks highly of these types of intervention there is no evidence that the process has any impact on crime per se. In the United States, where over one hundred wilderness programs for treating delinquent youths were identified in the early 1980s, the situation is similar. The US Department of Justice has also noted that outcome evaluations for this type of programme have been rare.(US Department of Justice 1997) The most commonly cited study of this type of program is the VisionQuest study by Greenwood and Turner (1987). They examined the behaviour of the juveniles during the six to 18 months after release from the program. Youth from VisionQuest had fewer rearrests than youth who had served time in a probation camp or who had refused to accept the VisionQuest placement and were placed in other programs. While the results appear positive, the research methodology makes it impossible to draw conclusions regarding the program's effectiveness. (US Department of Justice 1997) 33
Section Four Review and Recommendations 1. What is meant by a `culture of violence'? Owing to a number of historical factors, many South Africa children were born, reared, have matured, married and died in violent situations. Some have become so immune to violent actions that they see violence as both an acceptable way of expression, and as a way of channelling their emotions. Schools located in disadvantaged areas where the culture of violence reigns are plagued with violence, crimes, gangs, drugs, contraband, and other related problems. Violence in townships is so endemic it has also become an accepted part of student masculinity and in part explains the shift in the 1990s to high school student involvement in violent crime (Morrell, 1998; Xaba 1997). We understand the nature and scope of this well enough that further examination of this culture including profiling the victims, perpetrators and related problems may waste time as there is an urgent need to now identify the best solutions. 2. What are the `risk factors' for youth who become violent? In terms of numbers, young Black males are most at risk of committing violent crimes while Coloured males are most at risk as a percentage of the population. These same groups are most vulnerable to being victims of violent crimes. The age range for perpetrators is somewhat disputed because evidence is gathered in terms of convictions and it is hard to convict school-age youth. However, one can say with some authority that secondary school youth to young men between the ages of 15 and 25 are the main perpetrators of crime. The key risk factors identified within the literature, and with no particular ranking, are being poor, your race, your age, location ie where you live, your sex and gender, having been victimised, coming from a dysfunctional family, doing poorly at school and abusing a substance. These risk factors do not themselves cause criminality, but rather, over time influence the likelihood of criminal behaviour. The greater the number of risk factors, the greater the likelihood of turning to crime and violence. Enough is known about the profile of violent youth to begin to address the problem without further research. The most important factors in addressing youth violence may be to provide an intervention that supports and strengthens young males located in disadvantaged areas who suffer from poor parenting, a history of victimisation, poor school performance, low self-esteem, and show indications of drug abuse. Any two of these factors could double the likelihood of a young man becoming an offender and additional risk factors raise the likelihood exponentially. It is not important to argue that one factor is more important than another since they all ultimately interrelate as part of contemporary life for a child in a severely disadvantaged township or informal settlement where dysfunctionality in all social institutions, including schools, is so prevalent. 34
3. What are the `resilience factors which underlie a child with the so called `risk factors' to NOT become violent or a perpetrator of crime? Many of the characteristics of resilience are innate such as being optimistic rather than pessimistic. Many other factors, like bonding with the mother from an early age, and all the factors associated with good parenting skills may be a matter of luck. Characteristics of the resilient child such as high self esteem, trust, self-reliance, assertiveness, compassion, or the ability to conceptualise and problem-solve often come from very early childhood experiences. It is an uphill battle to try to gain these if the first five years of life inculcate the opposite. Nevertheless there is still room for intervention if the school, church or community can provide some form of support. Several researchers identified the school as the second most important institution in shaping values and character after the family. This makes it particularly important to identify and target children from the earliest age who have no parents, one parent, or abusive parents, all of which are quite normal in highly disadvantaged communities and offer counselling, empathetic mentoring, life skills, and emotional support. 4. Is there an alternative to the `risk ' / `resilience' factor approach? While this approach is useful it tends to make children the target of our efforts. The alternative approach is to understand that violent school-age children are a product of a society that is economically, socially, politically, emotionally, and physically violent. Townships and informal settlements represent the spaces of the most traumatised, victimised and brutalised of South African people. The alternative is to recognise this and make every effort to upgrade these socially-devastating environments. The environmental/ structural view removes us from a behavioural approach in which we rehabilitate perpetrators, to one in which we change the substandard environments into which these individuals are born, raised, marry, and perhaps die a violent death, since murder is the primary cause of death for young, black township males. This shift from rehabilitation to development offers a more holistic approach. 5. What is the impact of violence in schools? The incidence and severity of school violence is destroying the basic environmental conditions required to provide an adequate education as well as supplementary programmes aimed at upgrading schools. Gang turf wars spill onto school grounds because the school itself is a territorial prize for selling drugs, collecting revenue from theft, and recruiting gang members or intimidating children into becoming surrogate criminals. Based on school violence studies by the IPT since 1997, the situation is so destabilised in some areas that both children and staff members enter and leave campus as they wish and classes are not conducted according to any regular schedule. Educators often fear their own learners who carry weapons, smoke dagga in the toilets and move off and onto school 35
grounds freely. Other children cower in classrooms owing to intimidation. Gangs will hunt down and kill learners who are suspected of revealing their activities leading to the widespread phenomena known as the `culture of silence'. The consequences, both shortterm and long-term, is a perpetuation of poor schooling which exacerbates all the elements that create a culture of violence - unemployment, poverty, low self-esteem, poor parenting, dysfunctional schools, victimisations, and high drop-out levels. There is little need to research this further but rather to respond rapidly to these conditions. It was also asked to what extent this perpetuates the victim-perpetrator cycle? Schools, like other institutions such as the family, are indeed part of the cycle of violence, especially in township life. However, schools are also a good place to intervene in order to stop the cycle of violence. It will not end by locking up `bad' children but rather by teaching parenting skills, in the schools and communities, from an early age. Teachers must also be trained as mentors and role models if schools are to play a proactive role. Counselling in schools could also help children deal with the trauma they are experiencing while life skills training can begin to provide youth with interpersonal skills which support resilience. 6. Has research been undertaken to examine the `school system' as a producer of violence? As Robert Morrell (1998) has written, violence is not only imported into schools, it is hatched there too. Schools suffer from two central systemic problems: authoritarianism and patriarchy. This engenders authoritarian attitudes, stereotyping of all kinds including racism, and encourages boys to feel superior to girls. Sexual violence appears endemic in township schools where anecdotal evidence suggests that as many as 30% of the girls have either been raped or sexually molested. Despite its ban, the widely practised use of corporal punishment reinforces the already prevalent view among youth that violence is a legitimate means to effect change and gain power. Unfortunately, poorly trained teachers know little about alternative forms of discipline. Furthermore, schools are ultimately boring for most learners. This is an education crisis as it leads them to wander through the townships, take drugs, and look for other sources of stimulation. There is now a desperate need, which has been recognised by the Government, to create a curricula that is relevant to the life of South African youth. Thus, rather than look further into the failings of the school system, we need to implement the existing policies and strategies by identifying material which stimulates our youth and testing the kinds of techniques which work to effect democratic school management. 7. What are the windows of intervention for each important risk factor? Risk factors can broadly be divided into two types, one can be considered a wide scale societal risk such as poverty, location and race while the other type can be defined as a more individual risk such as being a victim, one's gender, poor school performance, low self esteem and coming from a dysfunctional family. However, risk factors are so enmeshed with each other that it becomes almost impossible to have any marked impact by dealing with one in isolation from the others. The risk factor which does seem to underpin all others is the high level of poverty and the lack of opportunity for escape from 36
this dreadful cycle. This interdependence of all risk factors highlights the need to co ordinate intervention efforts in order to ameliorate the benefits. Nevertheless, this does not mean that individual efforts have no value or should not continue but, rather where interventions are occurring, that they should be supported by the State and that future interventions should build on existing efforts rather than replicate work already done. Presuming that risk factors are either societal or individual, we would suggest that the most effective interventions would be as follows: State Level Interventions: In the course of the literature review we found most of the policy and much of the information coming out of Government Departments to be in line with both local and international findings regarding state level interventions to prevent school violence. The 37
main concern was not the quality of policy but rather the overwhelming replication of initiatives and research and a complete lack of action. A key example is the work produced by the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Young People at Risk (1996) suggests interventions almost identical to those covered within this review. The document reports on a large range of strategic interventions into South Africa's entire Child and Youth Care system which were recommended in a 1996 discussion document. This document was drafted by a range of NGOs and government departments, at both national and provincial level, working under the Deputy-Minister for Welfare and Population Development, Ms G J Fraser-Moleketi. Their goal was to shift the Child and Youth Care System away from a medical model, focussing on rehabilitation and pathologies, toward a more developmental, ecological and integrated plan (e.g., shifting the focus from`sexually abused girls' to `life skills for adolescents'). The recommendations are very detailed and affect numerous government departments and institutions including schools. The recommendations for school-level interventions are summarised below: C formal education should be brought into a developmental perspective that does not just emphasise achievement but is holistic, inspiring, and imparts life skills C child and youth care workers, social workers, and probation workers should be added to school faculties C school-based child and youth development programmes should include social skills training, life skills training, self awareness programmes, relationship and emotional development programmes, sex education/AIDS education, leadership training, peer education, and parenting awareness and responsibility programmes C child and youth development programmes such as youth clubs, youth groups, youth forums should be available after school hours and on weekends C every school should include a multi-disciplinary team trained to detect and report risk factors in young people and their families C all teachers in their basic training should be trained to deal with emotional and behavioural problems C early childhood development programmes should precede schooling C parent education and support should be offered through schools and other venues C after school support should be provided through recreation centres, weekend support programmes to families, overnight support programmes to families or youth The element missing from these excellent recommendations, is the budget and a plan of action. A key window of intervention related to the known risk factors is that of poverty alleviation and job creation. Once again the National Youth Commission in conjunction with Ntsika Enterprise Promotion Agency has produced draft recommendations entitled "A National Strategy to Promote Economic Participation by Young People" (1999) This document contains reference to the proposed National Youth Service which could play an important role in reducing some of the known risk factors and supporting some of the issues of resilience. There is no clear indication of how the National Youth Service 38
will be structured but it has the potential to play a role in crime prevention. A key issue will be sufficient allocation of resources to the service and the actual implementation of this initiative. The discussion document also makes recommendations to other key stakeholders as to their role in ensuring greater economic participation by young people. It suggested that schools be encouraged to increase their utilisation of enterprise education, while communities are encouraged to support business development amongst young men and women. It is also suggested that young people should be included on committees and economic development initiatives. An important recommendation with reference to the spread of information was that organisations should use young peoples communication networks rather than mainstream sources. One of our key recommendations reiterates one of the National Youth Committees stated objectives which is to "promote uniformity of approach by all organs of state in matters relating to young men and women". This objective could well be used as a co ordinating focus for crime prevention activities. The oft repeated commitment to co ordination and co operation appears again in the National Crime Prevention Strategy which was in fact produced by a multi departmental team from the Departments of Correctional Services, Defence, Intelligence, Justice, Safety and Security, and Welfare, and which outlines the government framework for reducing levels of crime and violence. Each Department has indicated their commitment to a joint strategy of crime prevention. For example · SAPS was to establish child protection units and specialised police offers, raising awareness, and establishing victim aid centres · The Department of Justice was to work to improve its laws and regulations concerning young victims of crime so that they are afforded special treatment, such as one-way mirrors or closed circuit television that keep youth witnesses out of the courtroom. · The Department of Welfare was tasked to create an awareness campaign around forms of child abuse and exploitation, redraf child care legislation, develop support systems for child victims, reform the child and youth care system to be more child friendly, protect child witnesses, and create partnerships with concerned NGOs. · The Education department have embraced a new curriculum and corporal punishment in schools is now illegal. From the national Department of Education through to the individual school, there must be cooperation with existing National Crime Prevention Strategy. The document, "Making South Africa Safe" developed by the Secretariat for Safety and Security can be a guideline along with the National Youth Commission Policy. These encourage cooperation of schools with local crime prevention efforts. Each school should also have an appointed security committee to oversee the implementation of the school's security plan. The IPT/CASS document, "Protecting Your School from Violence and Crime" explains this strategy and is completely compatible with national policy. There is no need for additional documentation but rather all schools should stay within the guidelines and parameters already established and work more diligently toward implementation. 39
Local Level Interventions This regional and area based interventions should mesh with National and Provincial policy while responding to the specifics of the local environment. These types of interventions would challenge the risks individuals face on a daily basis. Family Support Services--Schools cannot replace dysfunctional families but can go a long ways toward teaching parenting skills. Along with many other life skills, this should be developed as national curricula to be implemented throughout South African schools. Counsellors must also be available in the schools for abused children and active partnerships with NGOs, government departments, religious organisations, and community-based organisation will be required to have an active and functional referral service for young victims. Making schools more secure and functional--Short term security measures are welladdressed in the booklet, "Protecting Your School from Violence and Crime" by the IPT and the Community Alliance for Safe Schools. Longer term issues relating to the functionality of schools requires major changes in curricula, educator training, and the habitat of the school. Many of the principles of Outcomes Based Education require implementation to effect a change in curricula, however, this cannot be accomplished without adequate training of educators and upgrading the environment of the school. OBE will not be effective in schools without basic infrastructure such as doors, windows and walls. Furthermore, it is hard to attract good educators into depressing school environments that lack proper facilities for either teaching or learning. The national government must find a way to mobilise both human and material resources to upgrade schools. In KwaZulu-Natal, the Masibambisane Project has people ready to help finance the building of schools in different areas of KwaZulu-Natal and only needs a commitment from the DEC to proceed but has been unable to find support from this Department. Such efforts not only help rebuild schools but help reduce violence in schools because of the sense of community ownership that is created in the process. The resulting improved environment also raises the self-esteem of learners, thereby attack additional risk factors. This means it is vital to conduct an audit of these existing efforts, especially communitybased ones, find out what works, and put the resources of government behind them. Increasing self-esteem among learners--The chief way forward is to create more democratic management in schools to end the culture of authoritarianism and patriarchy that now dominate. This requires democracy education in the curricula for long-term results but in the meantime school management can be trained and school governing bodies can be further empowered to carry out this work. Transparent and inclusive running of a school is excellent training for learners for it helps empower them in non-violent ways and provides them with a microcosm for a functioning democracy. Learners should be active in drawing up the code of conduct in the school and establishing the appropriate disciplinary measures. Life-skills training is also fundamental to raising the self-esteem of learners for they would there learn problem solving, conflict management, anger management, self-assertive behaviour and those skills that address the problem of gender relations which would also help to reduce levels of victimisation. Authoritarianism and patriarchy are two key elements creating a feeling within boys that they can `own' and 40
`control' girls. The structure of much schooling is also authoritarian and patriarchal and must be replaced by Democratic Management systems. Reducing drug and alcohol abuse: Drugs and alcohol are implicated in a large number of crimes. Two major causes leading to their usage are boring unstimulating environments, which is the case in many schools and exposure to trauma, such as child abuse. The school can address the former with more stimulating programmes of learning and the latter with counselling and partnerships with both government and non-government agencies. Drug-awareness education may be less effective in the long-term but is a good short-term measure that can steer some children away from such abuse. Altogether it may be that we know more about the causes of violence and the avenues to curtail it than we are capable of delivering. For instance, improved school environments would go a long ways toward curtailing the problem but there is a shortage of resources, people and perhaps political will to address the problem adequately. This means our focus should turn away from staring at the problem and toward finding ways to implement some of the recognised solutions. We do not have all the answers regarding what works and what does not work and it is here where we find our fundamental gaps in research. 8. What are the Gaps in Research A key gap both within South African and United States literature is any form of scientific impact assessment of programmes or projects currently being implemented. For example, some questions which remain unanswered are : C how effective are victim support services for children? C what can we learn from existing victim and treatment offender programmes? C what management/treatment of youth offenders works? C what programmes have worked to reduce gang formation? C are police search and seizure operations effective in reducing crime in schools? C how can conflict management skills be taught effectively and what impact do they have in terms of crime prevention? C what job programmes work to increase youth employment? C what care system will work to meet the crisis of increasing AIDS orphans? C what system can lead to the reintroduction of guidance teachers and counsellors at schools? C what method can we use to gain media support to focus more on non violent approaches to problem solving in schools? C what community-based efforts are working to reduce crime in schools? C what management styles have worked to reduce crime in schools? There may be two exceptions to the general rule of focussing on solutions rather than problems as a priority research agenda. First, there is a need to examine the role of racism in producing school violence. Most particularly, we need to separate actual racist incidents from those that have been racialised in the media. Owing to the sensitivities around racial issues in this country, individuals are coming to believe that this is the central cause of violence. IPT research has shown that criminal activity is mainly related to gangs and opportunistic criminals especially in the disadvantaged schools which are sometimes not even racially mixed. Most of this literature review concentrated on aspects of poverty, 41
dysfunctional families, and the other risk factors already discussed as primary causes of violence. The conflation of race as the cause of school violence can lead to policies that may have no impact on reducing overall crime and violence levels. This is not to say that racism does not contribute to violence. It does, and diversity training is needed in all schools to help prevent this form of conflict. However, sheer criminality and gangs seems to be the cause of a significant amount of violence. Secondly, more research may be required to understand the cultural or ethnic framework for making practical interventions. As noted in Dawes and Donald (1999), "Failure to consider these aspects of the local situation is likely to hinder access to communities." Another key reason for additional research on cultural and ethnic factors is that we cannot always make sense of the data on youth violence without a cultural context. For instance, a study undertaken in Cape Peninsula High Schools (Flisher 1993) showed that fewer Xhosa speakers than any others had been victimised at school. The meaning of this is not entirely clear since the groups within the sample may be differentially habituated to experiences of violence. In some traditional practices, males are taught that fighting is an important part of becoming a man. In other areas, involvement by the police in domestic matters is condemned as an unnecessary interference. Understanding the culture, thinking, and practices of South Africa's diverse peoples may help us tailor policies and programmes to fit local needs. In closing, while there are several areas in which additional research might be conducted, there is so much sound research and policy that has not been implemented that research and further workshopping of ideas can be counter-productive if we do not act on and test out the ideas and policies already in hand. This means that: C the principle area for further research is to audit and then monitor all existing programmes to combat youth violence in urban schools for success factors and best practices rather than originate new avenues for research C schools must be encouraged to cooperate with existing government frameworks, policies and legislation for combatting crime C schools must also ally themselves with community-based efforts to combat crime including active participation in the Community Police Forum and forming partnerships with NGOs, local community organisations, and government agencies. General Recommendations, Comments and Caveats Several recommendations were offered above in the context of the literature review. However, there are four other recommendations, comments and caveats drawn from the collective experience of the IPT and simply understandings raised in the course of digesting this literature that are important to express. These more general recommendations include: 42
C International research shows that large scale government-designed interventions with little input from the local community usually fail. The problems are universal. Firstly, the same group of people who develop the concept do not run the programmes so that the people hired to implement it run it differently than envisioned. Secondly, government red tape often causes such lengthy delays that the programmes are strangled or so rushed that they fail. Thirdly, lack of community consultation often leads to objections or at best disinterest and programmes fail for lack of participation. Finally, those who developed the programme go onto other business and fail to monitor it. C Increasingly we are seeing a paradigm shift from pure reactionary projects towards a more whole-societal, developmental, ecological and integrated plan to stop the societal production of criminality. The problems of youth violence are not just errant youth, but symptoms of societal problems. We need to rethink the way that we raise, nurture, and provide for youth. In the schools this means a shift toward stimulating environments in which the needs of youth are addressed. In South Africa this means inspiring curricula that imparts life skills, social skills training, self awareness programmes, relationship and emotional development programmes, sex education/AIDS education, leadership training, peer education, and parenting skills, awareness and responsibility programmes. It also means school faculties equipped with child and youth care workers. After school programmes are required too such as youth clubs, youth groups, and youth forums. C The effort must be broad based and link schools, families, communities, government departments and support agencies in a common effort. Efforts focussing only on the school environment are unlikely to succeed in eradicating school-based violence and crime. The family, community institutions, and the school must be simultaneous targets of intervention. C While long-term efforts are vital for a successful outcome, some immediate short term efforts must be designed at school-level to protect them against the alarming rise in crime (e.g., neighbourhood watches). It is recommended that the Secretariat consider the kind of plan outlined in "Protecting Your School From Violence and Crime" jointly published by the Independent Projects Trust and the Community Alliance for Safe Schools. This accentuates the use of human resources in situations where material resources are in short supply. If every school established a security committee and proceeded with a written plan along the guidelines established in this short volume, schools should be able to effect a higher level of security. 43
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