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Perceptions of parents, caregivers and social workers on recidivism in children who have completed a diversion programme in Amajuba District of KwaZulu-Natal Province.

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Crime is a serious cause for concern for every nation and more worrisome is the involvement of children in criminal activities. The South African government has an obligation to ensure that children found to be in conflict with the law benefit from diversion and other legal alternatives to the greatest extent possible. The Child Justice Act (Act No. 75 of 2008) provides for the diversion of such children, with experts recommending that parents and caregivers monitoring their compliance with these diversion orders. The study seeks to establish the views of parents and caregivers regarding the factors contributing to reoffending among children who have completed the diversion programme and how they perceive their role when children going through the diversion programme. The study further examines social workers’ experience in working with the parents and caregivers of the young re-offenders, particularly the services and support offered to parents and caregivers. This study employed qualitative research methodology, specifically interviews to solicit data from the participants. This methodology fostered an in-depth understanding of the phenomenon being explored. The interviewees were parents, caregivers of the children who reoffend after completing the diversion programme and social workers who had been working with the young re-offenders’ families. In addition to primary data, secondary data were used to complement raw data collected from the field. The thematic analysis was used to analyse data. The theoretical paradigm supporting the study is interpretative and it was applied to encompass participants’ varied views. The study found that the parents and caregivers experience emotions such as shock, anger, frustration and disorientation at their children’s arrest and the subsequent appearances before the courts. The parents and caregivers experience emotional strain as a result of the monitoring role they assume to ensure children’s compliance with diversion orders. The study further revealed that the parents and caregivers need support services to help them cope with the child’s arrest and the subsequent diversion. Thus, the study recommends that parents and caregivers be included in the diversion programme to bring about a more positive impact. Aftercare and follow-up services have to be rendered to all the children who would have completed the diversion programme. The study further recommends the drawing of a policy that raises parenting skills for parents and caregivers of the children in constant conflict with the law.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.