Spotlight: Reducing violence through positive parenting


The Institute for Security Studies (ISS), in partnership with the University of Cape Town (UCT) and the Seven Passes Initiative, will begin an innovative three-year positive parenting project in September this year.

The project, with funding from the World Childhood Foundation, will work in the community of Touwsranten in the Western Cape. It will determine if a community-driven public awareness campaign, combined with parenting programmes, will improve parenting and promote child safety across the whole village.

‘These kinds of partnerships, which bring together policy research organisations, academic institutions and organisations that implement programmes, are essential to developing interventions that actually work’, says Catherine Ward, associate professor, Department of Psychology at UCT. ‘The challenge is to determine how to take programmes that have been shown through testing to be effective, to scale’.

We believe parents can develop positive, non-violent skills to help them keep their children safe
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This project aims to inform policy on violence prevention and aggression, and will improve the lives of children. It will also offer new insights to the World Health Organisation’s Parenting for Lifelong Health project that promotes evidence-based parenting programmes in developing countries.

The Touwsranten project is part of a broader effort by the ISS and UCT to address crime and violence through parenting support programmes that the state can implement nationally. In 2014, their efforts contributed to parenting support being included as a policy priority for the Western Cape provincial government. The ISS and UCT also helped the provincial government to develop a high-level implementation strategy and budget for parenting support across the province.

‘The safety and happiness of many South African children is undermined by violence in their homes and communities. We believe parents can develop positive, non-violent skills to help them keep their children safe in and outside of the home’, says Chandré Gould, senior research fellow at the ISS.

The project involves a variety of activities, from establishing a community-based ‘brand’ of positive parenting, to delivering evidence-based positive parenting programmes. If the approach is shown to be effective, the project will offer a model for similar projects in other communities in future.

For more information contact:

Chandre Gould, ISS:, +27 83 305 4915

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