The views of social workers on diversion programmes for male juvenile delinquents

Kleinhans, Lizelle Alexis (2013-03)

Thesis (M Social Work)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Adolescence is a challenging development stage because youths engage in risk-taking behaviour, including anti-social and criminal acts. Factors which contribute to youth becoming involved in crime include having a poor self-concept, being male, the negative behaviour of parents, family dysfunction, low socio-economic status, low literacy levels or being illiterate, peers who exercise a negative influence, and poor role models. Diversion strategies are practised worldwide, including South Africa, to deal with the growing number of youth in conflict with the law. After diversion practice was legalised in South Africa, some challenges have been experienced with implementation. However, the views of social workers are limited regarding diversion practices after the Child Justice Act no 75 of 2008 was introduced. The objective of the study is to gain insights from social workers who facilitate diversion programmes with male juvenile delinquents. In this study, attention was paid to explaining the nature of juvenile delinquency of male adolescents in a South African context; describing diversion programmes in terms of the Child Justice Act no 75 of 2008 to deal with children outside the criminal justice system; discerning the scope, nature and contribution of diversion programmes for the rehabilitation of delinquents; investigating the views of social workers on diversion programmes for male juvenile delinquents; and to make recommendations regarding the facilitation of diversion programmes with male juvenile delinquents. A combination of quantitative and qualitative research approaches were used in the study. The study further assumed an exploratory and descriptive research design due to the limited information available regarding the views of social workers on diversion programmes with male juvenile delinquents. A purposive sampling method was used to select the participants. Data was gathered by means of a structured questionnaire, which was administered during 20 individual interviews. This allowed for a holistic view to be gained of participants' opinions about and insights into the topic. The design of the questionnaire was based on the information obtained from the literature review. The findings of the empirical investigation mainly confirmed the findings of the literature study that males are more vulnerable to juvenile delinquency, that parents and families play substantial roles in the causes of juvenile delinquency and, lastly, that diversion programmes offer much benefit to youth offenders. The most important recommendations resulting from the study indicate that social workers should become more skilled and equipped to facilitate therapeutic groups as this will contribute to the reduction of re-offending. Parental and family involvement in diversion programmes is essential as it will increase the impact on the youth offender. In addition, the recommendations indicate the significance of monitoring and evaluation of diversion programmes, in this way ensuring the proper implementation of the Act. Lastly, it is suggested that more research be done about diversion practices internationally to increase knowledge regarding implementation.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die puberteitsjare is 'n uitdagende ontwikkelingsfase omdat die jeugdige riskante gedrag toon, soos antisosiale optrede en die pleeg van misdaad. Faktore wat bydra tot die jeugdige se betrokkenheid by misdaad is die feit dat hy tot die manlike geslag behoort, 'n lae selfbeeld het, die negatiewe gedrag van ouers, uit 'n gebroke huis kom, aan lae sosioekonomiese status ly, die lae vlak van of geen geletterdheid het nie, vriende wat 'n negatiewe invloed uitoefen, en swak rolmodelle. Afwendingstrategieë word wêreldwyd beoefen, ook in Suid-Afrika, om die toenemende aantal jeugdiges wat met die gereg bots, te help. Nadat afwendingspraktyke in Suid-Afrika gewettig is, is sekere uitdagings in die praktyk ervaar. Min menings is deur maatskaplike werkers geopper oor afwendingspraktyke nadat bepalings ingevolge die Kindergeregtigheidswet nr 75 van 2008 toegepas is. Die doel van die studie is om insigte te verleng van maatskaplike werkers wat afwendingsprogramme met manlike jeugmisdadigers fasiliteer. Aandag is geskenk aan die aard van jeugoortredings deur manlike jeugdiges in Suid-Afrika, beskrywings van afwendingsprogramme wat jeugdiges buite die strafregtelike stelsel behandel ingevolge die Kindergeregtigheidswet nr 75 van 2008, om insigte te win oor die omvang, aard en bydrae van afwendingsprogramme vir manlike jeugoortreders met die oog op rehabilitasie, om die menings en insigte van maatskaplike werkers oor afwendingsprogramme vir manlike jeugoortreders te ondersoek, en om aanbevelings te doen oor die fasilitering van afwendingsprogramme vir sulke oortreders. 'n Kombinasie van kwantitatiewe en kwalitatiewe navorsingsbenaderings is in hierdie studie gevolg. Tydens hierdie ondersoek is ook beide 'n verkennende en beskrywende navorsingsontwerp benut, omdat die literatuur 'n gebrek toon aan die insigte van maatskaplike werkers oor afwendingsprogramme met manlike jeugoortreders. 'n Doelgerigte steekproeftrekking is gebruik om die deelnemers te keur. Gegewens is ingewin deur middel van 'n gestruktureerde vraelys in twintig afsonderlike onderhoude. Sodoende kon 'n geheelbeeld van die deelnemers se menings en insigte aangaande die onderwerp verkry word. Die samestelling van die vraelys is gegrond op inligting wat uit die literatuuroorsig verkry is. Die bevindinge van die ondersoek het grootendeels dié van die literatuuroorsig bevestig, naamlik dat mans meer kwesbaar is vir jeugoortredings, dat ouers en gesinne 'n groot rol speel in die oorsake van jeugoortredings, en dat jeugoortreders baat kan vind by afwendingsprogramme. Die belangrikste aanbevelings voortspruitend uit hierdie studie dui daarop dat maatskaplike werkers meer vaardighede moet opdoen en toegerus moet word om terapeutiese groepe te fasiliteer aangesien dit sal bydra tot die vermindering van die herhaling van die oortreding. Dit is belangrik dat ouers en families betrokke is by afwendingsprogramme omdat dit 'n groter uitwerking op die jeugoortreder sal hê. Die aanbevelings dui ook op die belangrikheid van die monitering en evaluering van afwendingsprogramme om te verseker dat die bepalings ingevolge die Wet korrek toegepas word. Laastens, daar word voorgestel dat meer navorsing oor afwendingspraktyke internasionaal gedoen word om kennis oor die implementering daarvan te verbreed.

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