Case studies on perpetrators of violent crime, a report by the HSRC on behalf of the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation has been released.
South Africa is currently experiencing very high levels of violent crime. In 2006 the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cabinet committee decided to contract the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) to carry out research aimed at enhancing understanding of the nature of violence in South Africa with a view to strengthening government’s response to this problem. As a result, in February 2007 CSVR was contracted by the Department of Safety and Security to carry out a project with the following six components:
This document, then, is the report on the fifth component of the study. The original objectives as outlined in the initial project proposals were:
Subsequently these concerns were partly redefined. In particular, rather than “gratuitous violence”, a key concern of the project has now been defined as the degree of violence used in individual incidents and with accounting for the role of “instrumental” and “expressive” factors in violence, in relation to public perceptions that much violence is “senseless” or “gratuitous”.
Alongside this the overall project is underpinned by an interest in the distinction between violence committed between “strangers”, as in most robberies, and violence committed between “acquaintances”, as in a family dispute and many other arguments that culminate in violence.
The report was written for the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation by project leader Vanessa Barolsky, with Suren Pillay, Nadia Sanger and Catherine. L. Ward of the Democracy and Governance Unit and the Child, Youth and Family Development Unit at the Human Sciences Research Council. David Bruce and Amanda Dissel of CSVR provided comments on various drafts of the report.