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A systematic review of domestic violence impact on children during the Covid-19 lockdown in South Africa.

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This research is relevant to the examination of the impact of domestic violence on children during the COVID-19 lockdown, which is a public health concern. Domestic violence has been prevalent in South Africa before the COVID-19 lockdown. However, with the onset of COVID-19 and the lockdown measures that were implemented, the rate of domestic violence has increased, drastically. Domestic violence is not a new phenomenon as previous research has been done in this area, however, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic meant that more research questions needed to be unpacked. The Routine Activity Theory and the Situational Action Theory were used to understand the Dynamics of domestic violence on children. The stress of the pandemic impacted everyone as people were confined to their homes, which meant that there were changes in one’s routines and situations. Parents had to work from home and children had to learn at home. In essence, this modus operandi led to the victimisation of children as victims and perpetrators shared the same spaces. The pragmatic paradigm constituted the best fit in answering the key research questions. The convergent mixed-methods approach was used in to explore the cause-and-effect of domestic violence on children during the COVID-19 lockdown. The data were selected through the collection of secondary data through a systematic review. For the review to be done secondary data was collected, analysed, and then merged to provide results. The qualitative notational approach was incorporated as the qualitative data contributed to the majority of the study, while the quantitative data only contributed minute amounts to the overall study. This research was very complex therefore both qualitative and quantitative data had to be collected because a single approach data collection would limit the understanding of the research problem. The research design was selected based on the paradigm that was used in this study. The concurrent triangulation research design was employed as the collected data were merged to address each research objective. The non-probability, purposive sample technique was implemented to select research material as data needed to be selected based on relevance and ‘purpose’. The overall image that emerged from existing literature has evidence about how domestic violence impact children. From the respective vantage points of the various researchers, there were many inferences made regarding this topic. Particularly, there has been definite research indicating that the lockdown posed the risk of domestic violence on children and that domestic violence does impact children during the COVID-19 lockdown period either mentally, physically, or biologically. This has led to many challenges in children’s lives. No South African legislation specifically protects children from domestic violence, however other legislative acts can be adapted to protect children from abuse. Many services that protect children from domestic violence abuse in South Africa are not prioritised, therefore the services have declined. The result of the COVID-19 lockdown has seen increasing numbers with regards to domestic violence in South Africa. However, the extent of the domestic violence cases has not been reported accurately. Therefore, the data cannot be reliable. The study provides insightful effective strategies that can be used to help South Africa and other countries to advance the research practice, as well as to help end domestic violence even when not in a pandemic situation. The disruptive impact of domestic violence affects everyone as many countries are fighting through the COVID-19 pandemic. The lockdown caused irreversible effects on a child that became a victim of domestic violence as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. From the data gathered, domestic violence against children generates negative emotions for them. To protect children, there must be a collaborative approach to mitigate the issue of domestic violence against children. Effective strategies are discussed in this study to help victims of domestic violence. The overview of the study focused on understanding the risks associated with the COVID-19 lockdown, as social isolation had been seen to cause and impact children during the lockdown.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.