Early Exposure to Domestic Violence and Implications for Early Childhood Education Services: The South African Microcosm

Early Exposure to Domestic Violence and Implications for Early Childhood Education Services: The South African Microcosm

Mzoli Mncanca (University of South Africa, South Africa) and Chinedu Okeke (University of Swaziland, Swaziland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7476-7.ch003
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This meta-analysis drew statistical data from the Victims of Crimes Survey (VOCS) and gleaned empirical insights from the literature to present a comprehensive discussion about the extent of early childhood exposure to domestic violence and the effects on children's developmental trajectories. Bandura's social learning theory and the intergenerational transmission of violence were adopted as guiding theoretical perspectives to highlight the dangers of early exposure to violence and to elucidate the importance of raising children in safe and stable homes and schooling environments. Findings show that many South African children are severely affected by domestic violence, with far-reaching implications for their future holistic development and life chances. The chapter recommends that universities should ensure their early childhood education qualifications are socially relevant and contextually grounded. Similarly, practitioners should initiate and play a leading role in multi-stakeholder preventive interventions on domestic violence.
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Domestic violence continues to be a huge problem in South Africa, despite concerted efforts by the government, community formations and the non-profit sector to prevent the root causes. It is widely observable that the vast majority of domestic violence cases are perpetrated by men and their victims are women and children, as reflected in the statistical data compiled by the South African Police Service (SAPS, 2017), the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) (2012), and the national statistical agency, Statistics South Africa (Statistics SA, 2016; Statistics SA, 2017). A recent survey conducted by Statistics SA and SAMRC at the beginning of 2017 revealed that one in five women over the age of 18 years reported having experienced violence at the hands of a male partner (Statistics SA, 2017). The same survey revealed that 40% of men assault their partners daily, and that three women in South Africa are killed by their intimate partner every day. Similarly, a study conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) (2012) found that 65% of women in South Africa had experienced spousal abuse a year before the study was conducted. Although children may not be directly involved all these violent acts, they witness some of them – hence the deliberate use of the term ‘exposure’ in this chapter to denote the direct and indirect impact of domestic violence on children.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Early Childhood Education and Care: State or private services that cater for the educational and developmental needs of children between the ages 0-6 years.

Intergenerational Transmission of Violence: A view which state that children who are exposed to violence, especially at home, tend to manifest violent behaviors in their life course.

Domestic Violence: Any aggressive behavior within the home, typically involving the physical or verbal abuse of a spouse, a child, or both.

Social Learning Theory: A theory which postulate that most behaviors are learned through observing others and modelling their actions in real-life social settings.

Contact Crime: A criminal offence such as rape, assault, or robbery in which the victim is the target and often involving physical contact between two or more people.

Victims of Crime Survey: A household-based survey that is conducted annually by Statistics South Africa to assess the levels of crime in South Africa.

Meta-Analysis: A research design that combines and synthesize different types of data from multiple sources.

Situated Learning: A theory which suggests that learning is unintentional, but happens through exposure to real-life activities, contexts, and cultures.

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