An exploration of the conceptualisation of child-on-child sexual offenders by a group of isiZulu educators.
This study investigates the conceptualisation of child-on-child sexual offenders from the perspective of a group of isiZulu educators. Although a number of studies focusing on child-on-child sexual offenders have been conducted internationally, this is not the case in South Africa. The lack of literature regarding this issue, particularly in the school environment, and the increasing number of child-on-child sexual offenders provided the motivation for the research. Three focus groups were conducted with educators representing three educational environments, namely: educators teaching at a school for mentally retarded children, educators from a rural school and finally educators from township schools. The focus groups were transcribed and then analysed on two levels. Firstly, the data was examined in terms of explicit concepts and were based on concepts previously identified in the literature. The concepts were, quantified by way of a content analysis. In relation to this, four major conceptualisations emerged, each of which were further subdivided. The four major concepts included: 1) child-on-child sexual offending as "abnormal"; 2) child- on-child sexual offending as "normal"; 3) the role of acculturation in child-on-child sexual offending; and, 4) the role of educators and the educational system in relation to child-on- child sexual offending. This analysis was useful in that it highlighted common and significant themes among the three focus groups. Secondly, the data was analysed qualitatively and emerging implicit themes examined in greater depth. During this phase a number of strategies that were used by the educators to normalise, relativise and justify the issue of child-on-child sexual offending were identified. The function of these strategies was considered to be a defensive strategy to make the issue of child-on-child sexual offending more tolerable and thus easier to talk about.
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