Violence as a national problem in South Africa needs little introduction. South African citizens are exposed to daily, sensationalised reports of violence in the media, emphasising this problem's national and international pervasiveness. However, little emphasis is laid on the negative impacts and consequences of direct and indirect exposure to violence on South Africa's children, constituting a population at risk, well documented by research. " In South Africa, the exposure of young people to violence has reached epidemic proportions with an alarmingly high proportion of the youth having to face daily crises alone and without support." (Matthews, Griggs & Caine, 1999, p.28). Children are regarded as one of the most neglected and overtly oppressed sectors of South African society (Lockhat & van Niekerk, 2000, p. 290), as well as the most vulnerable, intentionally targeted sector. (Nair, Robertson & Allwood). Violence has infiltrated various spheres of South African society, having become a systemic part of family, school and community structures, in which children find themselves living in a "conflict ridden culture", whether it is at an intra-personal, inter-personal, inter-group, or a broader societal level.
[...] An adult's guide to childhood trauma: Understanding traumatised children in South Africa, by Lewis, S. Reviewed on The South African Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect: Recommended Reads. [WWW document]. URL http://www.saspcan.org.za/recommended_reads.htm August 2003. Vlok, L. Clinical Psychologist at SSVO. (Personal communication. April 15, 2003). Wait, J. (Personal electronic mail communication. April 11, 2003). Walton, S. (2003). When Violence Hits Home. State Legislatures 31, June 2003. World Health Organization. (2001). The World Health Report 2001. Mental Health: New Understanding, New [...]
[...] EFFECTS OF VIOLENCE ON CHILDREN'S MENTAL HEALTH The impact of violence on children's mental health depends on various factors: the level of exposure; the child's age and developmental phase; the family and community context in which the violence occurs; and the availability of family and/or community support. "Children may respond differently to trauma depending on their ability to understand and deal with the traumatic event in their life." (van Niekerk, 2002). "Clinical research suggests that as many as one out of every five persons, is suffering from violent related mental health problems. [...]
[...] However, by broadening the boundaries of research and following a more holistic approach in terms of therapeutic treatment of the various effects of violent exposure on victims, a greater understanding of children's experiences will be established, as well as creating new opportunities for future treatment and well-being of South Africa's children. Bibliography African National Congress Homepage. (2003, August 23). Children's Charter of South Africa. [WWW document]. URL http://www.anc.org.za/misc/childcht.html March 2003. American Academy of Paediatrics. (2003, August 18). Some Things You Should Know About Witnessing Violence. [...]
[...] This essay has served as an exploration of general, relatively immediate negative impacts of children's exposure to violence on mental health in the South African context, however, in light of the complexity of the problem, a need exists to focus on "how children's exposure to violence influence their ability to experience and modulate states of emotional arousal, their images of themselves, their beliefs in a just and benevolent world, their beliefs about their likelihood of surviving into adulthood, their sense of mortality and the value they place on human life." (Govender & Kilian p. [...]
[...] The psychological effects of chronic violence on children living in South African townships. South African Journal of Psychology 1-10. Hergenhahn, B.R. & Olson, M.H. (1999) An Introduction to Theories of Personality (5th ed.). United States: Prentice Hall, p 165-166, 275. Holder, E. (2001). Joint ASI/ASF Meeting in Washington, D.C. Children Exposed to Violence . [WWW document]. URL http://www.ncsl.org/programs/asi/violence.htm 16 March 2003. Lewis, J., Lewis, M.D., Daniels, J.A. & D'Andrea, M.J. (2003). Community Counseling: Empowerment Strategies for a Diverse Society (3rd ed.). [...]
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