Are parenting programmes enough to prevent violence?

An assessment found that the many stressors facing parents undermined the project’s ability to achieve sustained positive change.

This policy brief presents findings from an assessment of changes to parenting and child behaviour in a rural community in South Africa, carried out during the implementation of four positive parenting interventions and a social mobilisation process. Promising observations included reductions in parenting stress and improvements in children’s mental health. But parents’ poor mental health, substance misuse and intimate partner violence undermined these trends. This highlights the need for multifaceted interventions to address the risk factors for violence.


About the authors

Chandré Gould is a Senior Research Fellow in the Justice and Violence Prevention Programme at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS). She has been working in partnership with the Seven Passes Initiative since 2008.

Catherine Ward is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Cape Town.

Wilmi Dippenaar is the Director of the Seven Passes Initiative. She is also one of the driver group members of the South African Parenting Programme Implementers Network (SAPPIN).

Marilyn Lake is a Senior Data Analyst in the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of Cape Town.

Diketso Mufamadi is a Researcher in the Justice and Violence Prevention Programme at the ISS.

Lisa Kleyn is a Doctor of Psychology affiliated with the Universities of Cape Town and Oxford.

Warren Parker is a Public Health and Communication Specialist working in African contexts.

Image: © Chris Daly

Development partners
This policy brief is funded by the World Childhood Foundation. The ISS is grateful for support from the members of the ISS Partnership Forum: the Hanns Seidel Foundation, the European Union, the Open Society Foundations and the governments of Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.
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