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School Violence in South Africa:

 

 

Results of the 2012 National School Violence Study

 

The Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention (CJCP) released the “Results of the 2012 National School Violence Study” earlier this week.

 

The study, focused on secondary schools that were randomly selected. The study sample comprised 5,939 learners, 121 principals and 239 educators. According to the study one in every five secondary school pupils had experienced violence while at school in the 12 months between August 2011 and August 2012. This translates to more than one million learners who had experienced either some form of cyber bullying or violence at school.

The most disconcerting trend was that classrooms were the most common sites where acts of violence occur. Added to this, the violence occurring at schools was not limited to incidents between learners, it included acts perpetrated against, and by, educators.

 

Despite the high levels of violence, the study found that the statistics had remained relatively constant since 2008, when the CJCP last made a survey.

The following study data indicates the type of violence per province:

·          Threats of violence were common across all provinces but the highest rate this form of violence was observed in the Western Cape (reported by 18.5% of learners), followed by Limpopo (15.9%) and the Free State (13.2%).

·           Assault was most common in the Western Cape (9.2%), the North West (9.6%) and KwaZulu-Natal (8.2%).

·          In the case of sexual assaults, the Northern Cape had the highest levels of reported cases (a total of 11.2%), followed by the Free State (9.2%) and the Western Cape (9.2%).

·         The highest rates of robbery were reflected in the Western Cape (8.8%), the Free State (7.2%) and Mpumalanga (6%) provinces.

·          Although property-related crimes, particularly theft, were frequently reported across all provinces, the rates were highest in Mpumalanga (64.1%), the Eastern Cape (55.9%) and the Free State (52%).

These are some of the recommendations made by the study:

·        That the short- and long-term impact of safety initiatives should be evaluated prior to the roll-out of any intervention strategy in schools. The need for short-term impacts (such as reducing levels of fear within schools and increasing perceptions of safety) should be balanced with longer-term effective and proven violence-prevention initiatives.

·        That the planning and implementation of school safety plans should be integrated into local development plans to ensure partnerships with other local stakeholders.

·        That prevention efforts need to be implemented across schools to address new and emerging forms of violence affecting young people, such as cyber violence.

       The study's findings were endorsed by the UN Children's Fund, the Department of Basic Education and the Centre for Child Law.  The full report is available on the Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention website: www.cjcp.org.za