Juvenile Offenders Subject of Master’s Research
Ms Nondumiso Ntshangase recently graduated with a Master’s in Criminology degree awarded for her research into the implementation of the Khulisa Social Solution’s diversion programmes in KwaZulu-Natal.
Under the supervision of Dr Nirmala Gopal and through commitment and dedication, Ntshangase managed to complete the degree in a year.
The Khulisa Social Solution is a non-profit company that inspires, empowers and enables vulnerable children, youth and communities, to unlock their potential and develop skills towards a sustainable future.
Ntshangase’s research stemmed from the need to understand how diversion programmes are implemented to fulfil their objectives. Her key findings pertain to the prevalent issues faced by Khulisa while implementing their “Positively Cool” and “Silence the Violence” diversion programmes.
These include reasons for juvenile offending such as peer pressure, economic circumstances, drug and alcohol use; family support, group work, and diversion as a form of restorative justice and programme compliance with the Child Justice Act.
Challenges affecting the implementation of diversion programmes were the socio-economic circumstances of those who diverted, lack of parental support, recidivism and challenges in facilitating group work.
Ntshangase hopes that her research will benefit diversion service providers by providing insight into the implementation of diversion programmes from referrals, to assessment, getting children to attend diversion programmes and doing follow-ups.
Speaking about the support from family and friends, she said: ‘My family has always had confidence in me - they saw the hard work I put in towards my studies. Thus, they supported the idea of me studying further. My mother allowed me to study what I desired and gave me all I needed so I could focus on my work.
‘My friends were very supportive in praying for me, encouraging me when I was at my weakest and also helping me where I needed a second opinion in making sense of what I wrote.’
She advised other researchers to work hard and trust in God. ‘Research demands hard work and dedication. Look for opportunities and never settle for less. With education one can reach greater heights, but only God can sustain you at those greater heights. Also, invest in other people; help them achieve their dreams.
Asked about her future plans, Ntshangase said: ‘I hope to get a job soon, something relating to the Juvenile Justice System. I also want to start my own company that will provide diversion services to children in conflict with the law. My aim is to make a positive impact wherever I go.’