A victimological analysis of physically disabled children as victims of violence in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa.
Sibanyoni, Ephraim Kevin.
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This study focused on a victimological analysis of physically disabled children as victims of violence in the Eastern Cape. The researcher proposed four objectives for the purpose of the study as follows: to explore forms of violence these physically disabled children experience in the Eastern Cape; to determine if physically disabled children are the victims of violence due to their disability in the Eastern Cape; to determine the effects of violence these physically disabled children experience in the Eastern Cape; and to explore whether the violence experienced by physically disabled children is reported to the criminal justice system in the Eastern Cape. The total sampling size for the purpose of this study was one-hundred and ten (110) respondents. Broadly, the research sample comprised of 100 physically disabled children from two special need schools (50 from each) based in the Eastern Cape and 10 officials (caregivers) from both special need schools, each contributing 5 respondents. These 100 physically disabled child respondents had to satisfy the following conditions: reside in a special needs school hostel in the Eastern Cape, be between the ages of 12-18 years, and be physically disabled and from any racial and socio-economic group. Caregivers were selected based on years of experience working with disabled children. These respondents were chosen according to their knowledge of the research content and their experience in the context studied. For this study, the researcher made use of two sampling techniques i.e. accidental sampling for selecting physically disabled respondents and purposive sampling for selecting caregivers of the physically disabled children. Accidentally means that any physically disabled child who is willing to meet with the researcher and has any knowledge of the research topic will be included in the sample until saturation is reached. Thus, research participants were selected based on their availability and willingness to take part in the research (Gravetter and Forzano, 2003: 125; Strydom and Venter, 2002:207). Purposive sampling was employed in selecting all caregiver’s respondents. The researcher chose this technique of sampling because it helped in choosing the most relevant or knowledgeable respondents with regard to the topic under study. The researcher used triangulation when collecting data. The researcher used a questionnaire and in-depth interviews. The questionnaires were used to source the data from the physically disabled children whilst the in-depth interviews were used to collect data from the caregivers. The collected data from the respondents was analysed by using SPSS Version 22 and thematically where narrative writing was utilised. Findings: the study finds that most physically disabled children under study experienced various forms of violence/abuse such as rape, sexual assault, physical abuse, emotional abuse, bullying, and neglect. The study finds that, these physically disabled children are victimized due to their disability. Their disability conditions makes them vulnerable to victimization. The study also finds that these physically disabled children succumbed to severe long-term effects because of their victimization. The abuse they experienced have had long-term damaging effects. The study further finds that, most of the abuse/crime committed against these children are not reported to the police. In turn, the perpetrators are not subjected to the criminal justice processes. The study also finds that these children prefer to report the abuse to their teachers than to other individuals. Recommendation: The researcher recommends that future researchers might need to conduct research on victimization of physically disabled children in public transport. The current study protruded that there is somewhat victimization of physically disabled children occurring in public transport. As this was not the focus of the study, other researchers might wish to expand on this phenomenon. Further research is needed to investigate bullying occurring in special needs school, where physically disabled children bully each other. The findings of the study indicated the prevalence of bullying between physically disabled children, however more insight of the phenomenon is needed. Lastly, other researchers might explore the attempt of infanticide of infants with disabilities because of their disabilities. The present study found existing relationships between abuses of physically disabled due to their disabilities; however, there is limited knowledge on infanticide of physically disabled children because of their disability. Researchers can expand on this phenomenon by using a bigger sample size.