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Study summarised:

A longitudinal perspective on violence in the lives of South African children from the birth to twenty plus cohort study in Johannesburg-Soweto

The summary:

This study followed more than 2000 children between birth and 22 years of age in the Gauteng area, South Africa to examine their exposure to violence during their childhood.

  • 99% of the participants reported some form of exposure to violence.
  • Violence occur in all the settings of children’s lives: at home, in the community, at school among peers and in their intimate relationships.
  • All categories of violence were more prevalent among poorer and more disadvantage groups.
  • Children and youth are also reported to be perpetrators of violence, and not only adults.
  • Long term exposure to violence result in the experience of toxic stress and lead to profound negative mental outcomes into adulthood and risky behaviour.
  • Early intervention is imperative to reduce young children’s exposure to and experience of violence in order to reduce long term negative outcomes and toxic stress.

How can you relate this to practice?

  • You might work in a community where violence is high – read this article to understand the negative impact of this on the children and use it as a supportive reference to request funding to do a community project that might reduce community violence.
  • If there is nothing that you can do about the levels of community violence, but you want to understand what a violent community does to a child, then read this article when you have time.