Examining the Process of Violentization of 78 Youth from Gugulethu and Khayelitsha in the Western Cape – Violent Offenders or Dangerous Violent Criminals
L. Holtzhausen

Research on the harsh treatment of children has been a line of inquiry for many decades. The family structure of America has been changing dramatically over the last fifty years and as such, interest in the variation between different family forms has flourished. Several scholars have found that in fact children are more at risk of being harmed by a parental figure that is not genetically connected to them, most often a stepfather or the male partner. Most of the studies finding that these children are abused at higher rates rely on data from reported and investigated abuse claims. Legislatively, mandated reporting has also become a prominent part of the child welfare milieu. Mandatory reporting laws ensure that individuals working with children report any indicators they witness that may be a sign of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. This paper investigates if individuals are more likely to report actions when conducted by a substitute parental figure. IF is found the stereotypes drive whether or not an incident is turned in that may be playing a role in the increased instances of child abuse by these paternal types. We find overall, that when an individual sees a parental figure hit a child with a closed fist they are more likely to view it as abuse, and more likely to report that instance to authorities if the parental figure is a stepfather or a mother’s boyfriend compared to a natural father. No differences were found between stepfathers and mother’s boyfriends. Furthermore, we find no differences in terms of likelihood of perception or reporting shaking or yelling at a child.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jssw.v4n1a9