Experiences of late adolescent volunteers presenting a child sexual abuse prevention school programme
Child Sexual Abuse is a serious and complex issue for South Africa, demonstrating one of the highest prevalence rates in the world. Scarcity of professional resources demands effective intervention through prevention programmes which largely rely on non-profit organisations as a last hope to decrease the excessively high rates of abuse. Due to lack of resources within the non-profit organisations, they largely rely on volunteers who are often from the late adolescent developmental stage to present these prevention programmes. The aim of this study was to explore the perceptions and experiences of emerging adult volunteers presenting a sensitive child sexual abuse prevention programme in schools in South Africa. The objectives were to gain further insight and understanding into the late adolescent developmental stage in regard to the participants’ views of presenting a child sexual abuse prevention programme and to identify what aspects of the programme should be altered, improved or continued to avoid risk and harm to these volunteers. The research approach was qualitative, with the use of case-study and phenomenological strategies that allowed for in-depth insight into how a small group of late adolescents made sense of their experiences and transformed these into subjective, conscious meanings. Criterion-based sampling was used to find the participants who had previously presented the child sexual abuse prevention programme. Data were collected by means of six semi-structured one-on-one interviews and six open-ended questionnaires with twelve participants between the ages of 18-22. Common themes, patterns, and regularities that recurred throughout the interviews and open-ended questionnaires were identified and the main themes that were evident formed the overall image reflective of the experiences of the volunteers. The findings suggest that the late adolescent stage may be a good age group for presenting this challenging and imperative task. To allow for the most positive impact and avoid harm it is, however, essential that non-experiences of late adolescents presenting a child sexual abuse prevention programme profit organisations provide adequate psychological and emotional support to the volunteers throughout the duration of the programme. The study shows that late adolescents, who felt they had received adequate psychological support, indicated an overall more beneficial and rewarding experience. Participants who felt they had not received sufficient support, reported feelings of helplessness and depressive thoughts, indicating emotional and possibly psychological harm. The study highlights the necessity for adequate support of the late adolescent volunteers presenting sensitive programmes in the future.
- Humanities