Challenges experienced by social welfare officers in the rehabilitation of incarcerated child offenders

Muyobela, Tamara Aggie (2016-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2016.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Children as estimated make up a third of the world population and Africa alone accounts for the highest percentage of children. However, it has been established that world over one million children are detained in prisons. This is an indication that besides other alternative/diversion options, children in conflict with the law are still incarcerated. The incarcerated child offenders undergo rehabilitation which is aimed at changing aspects regarded as the cause of criminal behaviour, such as attitudes, cognitive processes, social relationships, education and vocational skills. Paying attention to the various factors that may impede effective rehabilitation of child offenders is imperative for finding effective solutions that in the end contribute in preventing recidivism. This study therefore aimed to investigate the challenges experienced by social welfare officers in rehabilitating incarcerated child offenders. A literature study aimed at describing the legislation and policy utilized in child justice programs and theories applied in designing rehabilitation programs was done. Thereafter an empirical investigation was conducted. Quantitative and qualitative research methodology was employed and explorative and descriptive research designs were utilized. Purposeful non-probability sampling was utilized to involve social welfare officers employed at the Ministry of Community and Social Development in Zambia in the study. Twenty social welfare officers that met the inclusion criteria for the study were selected to participate. A semi-structured interview schedule was used to collect the data during the empirical investigation. Through analyzing the results the researcher made certain conclusions and recommendations with regards to the challenges experienced by social welfare officers in rehabilitating child offenders. The most important conclusions resulting from the research study indicated that social welfare officers are faced with a myriad of challenges in rehabilitating child offenders. The main challenge was the lack of resources which include: the lack of social work training among social welfare officers; the lack of human resources; the lack of organizational resources and the lack of coordination among stakeholders. The research study therefore recommends that the gap in organizational and human resources should be filled and especially that social welfare officers must be trained social workers. Furthermore, it is recommended that the Zambian government should enact legislation that mainly sets principles relating to the care and protection of children.

AFRIKAANS OPSOMMING: Daar word geskat dat ‘n derde van die wereld se bevolking kinders is, waarvan die hoogste persentasie in Afrika voorkom. Nietemin is bevind dat meer as een miljoen kinders in die wêreld aangehou word in gevangenisse. Dit is ‘n aanduiding dat kinders wat in konflik met die gereg is steeds in gevangenisskap is, ongeag ander alternatiewe/diversifikasie moontlikhede. Hierdie kinderoortreders wat in gevangeniskap is, ondergaan rehabilitasie wat gerig is op die verandering van sommige aspekte wat beskou word as die oorsaak van kriminele gedrag, soos houdings, kognitiewe prosesse, sosiale verhoudings, opvoeding en beroepsvaardighede. Dit is noodsaaklik om aandag te gee aan die verskeie faktore wat die effektiewe rehabiltasie van kinderoortreders kan strem, sodat oplossings gevind word wat kan bydra tot die voorkoming van terugval. Hierdie studie is daarom daarop gerig om die uitdagings wat maatskaplike welsynsoffisiere beleef in die rehabilitering van kinderoortreders wat in gevangenisskap is, te ondersoek. ‘n Literatuurstudie wat gerig is op die beskrywing van wetgewing en beleid wat benut word in kinder geregtigheidsprogramme en die teorieë wat toegepas word by die ontwikkeling van rehabilitasieprogramme, is gedoen. Daarna is ‘n empiriese studie uitgevoer. ‘n Kwantitatiewe en kwalitatiewe navorsings metodologie is benut en ‘n verkennende en beskrywende navorsings ontwerp is gebruik. Doelbewuste nie-waarskynlikheids steekproeftrekking, is aangewend om maatskaplike welsynsoffisiere in diens van die Ministerie van Gemeenskapsontwikkeling en Maatskaplike Ontwikkeling in Zambië, te betrek by die studie. Twintig maatskaplike welsynsoffisiere wat voldoen het aan die insluitingskriteria van die studie is gekies om deel te neem. ‘n Semi-gestruktureerde onderhoudskedule is benut om data te bekom tydens die empiriese ondersoek. Die navorser het gevolgtrekkings en aanbevelings gemaak vanuit die analisering van die data oor die uitdagings wat ervaar word deur maatskaplike welsynsoffisiere in die rehabilitasie van kinderoortreders. Die mees belangrikste gevolgtrekkings dui daarop dat maatskaplike welsynsoffisiere ‘n menigte van uitdagings in die gesig staar in die rehabilitering van kinderoortreders. Die belangrikste uitdaging was die gebrek aan hulpronne wat insluit: die gebrek aan maatskaplike werk opleiding van maatskaplike welsynsoffisiere, die gebrek aan menslike hulpbronne, die gebrek aan organisatoriese hulpbronne, asook die gebrek aan koordinering tussen betrokkenes. Daar word daarom aanbeveel dat die gaping tussen organisatoriese en menslike hulpbronne aandat geniet en veral dat maatskaplike welsynsoffisiere opgeleide maatskaplike werkers moet wees. Voorts word aanbeveel dat die Zambiese regering wetgewing voorskryf wat hoofsaaklk beginsels vir die versorging en beskerming van kinders uiteensit.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/98798
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