Violence, alcohol and symptoms of depression and in Cape Town's poorest communities: results of a community survey

Introduction This paper summarises key findings from the first of three household surveys conducted in three high-violence areas in the Cape Town, investigating community members’ experiences of alcohol use, their built environment, violence and symptoms of depression, together with their views on alcohol and other interventions. Methods A stratified random sample of 1500 dwellings, 1200 in Khayelitsha and 300 in Gugulethu and Nyanga (“Gunya”) was selected using GIS address data for formal areas and aerial photography for informal areas. Fieldwork took place from July to November 2013. Responses to questions were summarized by area, gender, age and formal vs. informal settlement type. Results After substitution and data cleaning, 1213 Khayelitsha households and 286 Gunya households were included. In Gunya, 29% of respondents reported that they or their family members had been affected by at least one violent crime (murder, assault, domestic violence, rape) in the past year, compared with 12% in Khayelitsha. Using a CES-D-10 cut-off of 10, 44% of respondents were classified as depressed. More than half the respondents reported having experienced some form of alcohol nuisance. Respondents were supportive of alcohol interventions such as increased taxes and police regulation of outlets, particularly in Gunya (87%) and amongst female respondents (76%). Satisfaction with infrastructure such as street lighting and drainage was generally low. Conclusions The results describe the co-occurring burdens of alcohol and drug use, violence, depression and deprivation in our study populations.