Managers’ expectations of the roles and responsibilities of forensic social workers in SAPS
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The South African Police Service experiences a high rate of child sexual abuse cases that are reported almost every day within the FCS Units. The SAPS, therefore, saw a need to employ social workers who would practice as forensic social workers in order to assist investigating officers in the investigation of child sexual abuse cases. Forensic social work is considered as relatively a new field in South Africa, especially in SAPS. However, in the United States it has been in existence since 18th century. The studies that were conducted indicated that forensic social work in the SAPS became operational only in 1997. Several studies were conducted in SAPS about forensic social work but the researcher discovered there was only one study which focused on managers’ perspectives on the integration of forensic social work in SAPS which is in line with the researchers’ study of Managers’ expectations of the roles and responsibilities of forensic social workers in SAPS. With the information provided, the researcher saw a need to explore on how the managers within FCS Units at SAPS view and understand the roles and responsibilities of forensic social workers. Because the researcher wanted to explore the views of FCS Unit managers, the qualitative research approach was the most suitable approach for this study. The aim of the study was to develop an understanding of the expectations of FCS managers of SAPS situated in the Free State, regarding the roles and responsibilities of forensic social work. The researcher collected data from the participants utilizing semi-structured interviews. The findings revealed that forensic social workers at SAPS play a major role in assisting investigating officers within FCS units with minor children on cases of child sexual abuse. The study also revealed the shortage of forensic social workers in the Free State province and lack of Afrikaans speaking forensic social workers which leads to the withdrawal of cases at courts because forensic social workers were not there to assist with the assessments. However, the researcher came to a conclusion that there is still a need to educate our managers on the roles and responsibilities of forensic social work as some are still confused and only regard forensic social workers as professionals who only assist with the statement taking of the child. If managers of FCS units can undergo training on what forensic social workers do, there is a possibility that they will be able to utilize forensic social work services effectively.
- Health Sciences