The views of social workers regarding their role in youth gang prevention in communities of the Western Cape

De Jongh, Samantha-Lee (2021-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2021.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Youth gangsterism is a foremost societal ill in the Western Cape of South Africa; this phenomenon has been identified as the most severe crime problem facing the province. Youth gangsterism continues to intensify, not only in prevalence, but also in brutality. South Africa has cultivated a rich body of research regarding unmet needs of youth across all levels of the ecological system as the principle underlying cause for youth gangsterism. Policy and legislative frameworks call for social crimes, such as youth gangsterism, to be addressed through preventative measures; for this reason, social workers have been identified as key role players in delivering prevention services. However, these policy and legislative directives lack guidance towards social work intervention for the prevention of youth gangsterism. Thus, the role of social workers in youth gang prevention is yet to be determined. This study aimed to gain an understanding of the perceptions of social workers regarding their role in youth gang prevention in the Western Cape. A qualitative research approach was therefore employed. This was underpinned by the ecological perspective, which was further supported through adoption of an exploratory research design as a framework for implementation of the said research approach. This research approach and design was selected as most suitable for this study, as it allowed for the collection of rich data, detailing the role of social workers in youth gang prevention. Purposive sampling was applied, and twenty social worker participants were selected from whom data was collected through the means of a semi-structured interview. The findings of the study indicated that social workers are key role-players in youth gang prevention through the capacity to intervene through said roles, in an effort to address the core needs of youth vulnerable to gang involvement. However, the findings of the study further reveal that the role of social workers in youth gang prevention, specifically in case work, group work and community work, require clearer directives in terms of empowerment strategies at primary and early intervention levels with a focus on multidisciplinary approach. These findings indicate gaps in social work practise towards youth gang prevention. Based on these findings, relevant conclusions and recommendations are presented.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Jeug betrokkenheid by bendes is ‘n maatskaplike probleem wat volop voorkom in die samelewing van die Wes-Kaap in Suid-Afrika. Hierdie verskynsel is geïdentifiseer as die mees erinstigste misdaads probleem wat die provinsie in die gesig staar. Die betrokenheid van jeug by bendes bly toeneem en nie net slegs in getalle nie maar ook in geweldadigheid. In Suid-Afrika is daar reeds ‘n ryk versameling van navorsing aangaande die onvervulde behoeftes van jeug op alle vlakke van die ekologiese stelsel en dui dat dit primêre oorsaak van jeug berokkenheid by bendes is. Beleid en wetgewings raamwerke roep vir maatskaplike misdaad probleme, soos jeug betrokkenheid by bendes, om aangespraak te word deur voorkomende maatreëls in te stel. Vir hierdie rede is maatskaplike werkers geïdentifiseer as hoof rolspeelers in die lewering van voorkomende dienste. Hierdie belied en wetgewings voorskrifte gee egter min leiding vir maastkaplike werk interfensie wat kan help met die voorkoming van jeug betrokkenheid by bendes. Dit kan dus gestel word dat die rol van maatskaplike werkers in jeug bende voorkoming nog nie vasgestel is nie. Hierdie studie poog om ‘n begrip van die persepsie wat maatskaplike werkers aangaande hulle rol, in die voorkoming van jeug bende berokkenheid, vas te stel. ‘n Kwalitatiewe navoorsings benadering is toegepas en hierdie benadering word onderskryf deur die ekologiese perspektief en word verder ondersteun deur die gebruik van ‘n verkennende navorsing ontwerp wat as ʼn raamwerk dien vir die implementeering van hierdie benadering. Hierdie benadering en ontwerp was gekies as die mees toepaslik metode vir hierdie studie aangesien dit toelaat vir die versameling van inligting ryke data wat die besonderhede rol van maatskaplike werkers in die voorkoming van jeug bende betrokkenheid uitwys. Doelgerigte steekproefneming is toegepas en twintig maatskaplike werk praktisyns was gekies, vanaf wie data verkry is deur ʼn semi-gestruktureerde onderhoud. Die bevindinge van die studie het aangedui dat maatskaplike werkers sleutelrolspelers is in die voorkoming van jeug bende betrokkenheid. Dit word verig deur hulle kapasiteit om in te gryp in hulle betrokke rolle en wat dan dien as ʼn poging om die hoof behoeftes van kwesbare jeug aan te spreek. Die bevindinge van die studie bewys egter steeds dat die rol van maatskaplike werkers in jeug bende voorkoming, spesifiek in gevalle werk asook groep werk en gemeenskapswerk, meer duidelike aanwysings benodig.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/123627
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