'It feels like it's the end of the world': Cape Town's youth talk about gangs and community violence
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The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) subcontracted the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) to undertake a child participation study on children's involvement in violence, particularly that relating to gangs and other kinds of organised armed violence in the Cape Town metropole. Focus group discussions were to provide an avenue for exploring children's experiences of living in an environment with high levels of gang activity, their views of why children join gangs, and their views about how children's engagement in gangs may be prevented and reduced. Four communities were chosen: two historically coloured and two historically black. The sites chosen were identified as having high levels of gang activity on the basis of a rapid assessment of children's involvement in gang activity in Cape Town, and of reports of gang activity made by children to the Safe Schools hotline.
A secondary and a primary school within each community were selected at random. Schools were then invited to participate, and to select groups of ten girls and ten boys in each of Grades 11, 9 and 6. Children who were not in regular schooling were accessed via Special Youth Care Centres and shelters for homeless children. In total 282 children were interviewed in 30 focus groups.
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