Children's experiences and views on domestic violence
Ntebe, Ntombenani Primrose
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In a country in which human rights feature prominently in our discourse about who we are, as well as in the South African constitutional and legal framework, so many wrongs continue to be perpetrated on women and children. However, children seem to be particularly affected by domestic violence, either physically, emotionally or socially. In order to adequately address these diverse experiences and understand what children say, an in-depth investigation into how children experience domestic violence, and what their views are, is required. The study will focus on those children who had been affected emotionally and socially in their homes. This study will make an attempt to expand on how children experience domestic violence, what the general reaction of a selected group of children, who have observed domestic violence, is and what their views of domestic violence are. Attention was given to the relevant literature as well to legislative and policy frameworks. The study employed a qualitative research method in order to obtain in-depth data from the children. Children were selected from three schools in a small Northern Cape town, which participated in the study and the schools were grouped as follows: one school from each area, which are Nonzwakazi, Sunrise and De Aar (town). Each high school had five participants. The participants‟ ages were between 12 and 17. All the participants reside at De Aar which is situated in Prixley kaSeme District about 300 kilometres from Kimberley, Northern Cape Province. Data was coded according to the themes that emerged from the study and were analysed. The results indicated that children are able to share their experiences when given the opportunity. It is further shown in the results that children view domestic violence as a wrong and that men are the sole abusers. It further indicated that children do not have confidence in the courts; they are of the view that the courts are being too lenient on the abusers and they further said that more protection orders should be issued in order to prevent domestic violence. They blame this on non-responsiveness of the police when they are called and the kind of punishments the courts impose when the abuser is brought before court.The majority of children expressed their wish to see justice being done. The study found that children are of the view that there is little support from the police and the courts. The study concluded that children, acting voluntarily and with appropriate ethical safeguards, can make a significant contribution to both describing their experiences of domestic violence, and to indicating the standard of services and other interventions that they can trust and use.