Reasons for not finalising child sexual abuse cases in alternative care : social workers' perceptions
Dealing with child sexual abuse cases, is an integral part of the social workers job. Due to the nature of the abuse and the provisions made by the Children’s Act, 38 of 2005, as amended, to safeguard the child victim, many social workers remove children of child sexual abuse cases and place them in alternative care. The aim of this study is to explore the perceptions of social workers on the reasons why child sexual abuse cases in alternative care is not finalized. Some of the factors that play a role in not finalising these cases are: the high case loads of the courts and social workers, the lack of cooperation from the South African Police Service, the notion that if a child is removed, the child is safe and further intervention is a luxury. This study reveals that there is a lack in training and adequate knowledge on how to deal with child sexual abuse cases. The study also indicates that a lack of communication between the role players in child sexual abuse cases exists, causing some social workers to lose their drive for these cases. Due to the high amount of cases of the Police, the courts and the social workers, these cases are not always seen as a priority and the fact that the child is not as adequate a witness as he/she needs to be, finalising these cases are not very successful. Another reality made known from this study, is that there is a dire need for forensic social workers in the field and alongside it, there is a lack of funds, prohibiting social workers to make use of the few forensic social workers in private practice. It was indicated that forum meetings and training be provided to all the stake holders in child sexual abuse cases, as well as to develop a clear protocol, indicating how to deal with these cases and explain each stakeholder’s role and responsibilities.
- Humanities