Document Type Doctoral Thesis Author Schoeman, Ulrike Charlotte Wanda URN etd-11032006-175438 Document Title A Training programme for intermediaries for the child witness in South African Courts Degree DPhil (Social Work) Department Social Work Supervisor
Advisor Name Title Dr J M C Joubert Keywords
- state prosecutor
- presiding officer/magistrate
- court preparation
- child witness
- accusatorial system
- South African legal system
- child development
- cognitive development
- child trauma
- child communication
- intervention research
- sexual offences court
- training program
Date 2006-04-25 Availability unrestricted Abstract
This study concentrates on the development, implementation and evaluation of a research based training program for intermediaries in South African courts in order to improve the intermediary’s knowledge and understanding of the role and duties of an intermediary. The motivation for this study had its origin in the fact that the adversarial nature of court proceedings is a major stumbling block for the child witness. The research problem, namely that there is no national research based training program for intermediaries in South Africa, was discussed.
Intervention research was used as research methodology and a two phase research approach was undertaken. A quantitative survey research design was used during the phases. The research question formulated for the first phase was:
What are the duties and role of an intermediary? 54 magistrates and 34 prosecutors who attended four workshops, completed a self-structured questionnaire. This data complemented the literature study and both were used to compile a training program for intermediaries. The quantitative approach was also used for phase two of the study. A quasi-experimental one-group pretest-posttest design was used. An assessment by means of a questionnaire was done before the training program started and was repeated again after the presentation of the training program to determine the effectiveness of the program The research hypotheses that was formulated was: If an intermediary is trained according to a research-based training program, the intermediary’s knowledge of her role in assisting the child before and during the trial in a South African court will be improved. A five-day training program was implemented. The hypothesis was confirmed after the data had been analyzed and compared to the literature.
In chapter two the legal system of South Africa, in respect to the child, was discussed and in chapters three, four and five all aspects of child development were discussed with specific emphasis on the child witness that needs to testify in a separate courtroom. Cognitive development and language development in the context of the child witness were discussed. This information was used to develop a training program. In chapter six the development of a training program was discussed with specific attention being given to outcomes based education. In chapter seven all the data that was collected was quantified, analyzed and interpreted. The conclusion could be drawn that the respondents did show improvement of their skills and knowledge of an intermediary, his/her duties and theoretical knowledge. They also showed that their practical skills had improved by attending the training program. The conclusion could therefore be made that the intermediary training program was successfully implemented and complied with the requirements of an outcomes based training program. The findings obtained indicate that trainers of intermediaries throughout South Africa can successfully apply the developed training program.
Conclusions and recommendations (chapter 8) of this study are put forward in accordance with the process that was followed in developing and implementing the training program for intermediaries who are to assist children when testifying in a court.
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