Investigating treatment strategies for adolescent rape survivors : a grounded theory analysis

Master Thesis


Permanent link to this Item
Journal Title
Link to Journal
Journal ISSN
Volume Title

University of Cape Town

An evaluation conducted by the Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust (RCCTT) revealed that over 43% of their clients were teenagers, and a preliminary search of the current literature revealed a dearth of studies on the interplay between the developmental stage of adolescence and treatment of the adolescent rape survivor. This study therefore aimed to explore factors to consider when devising treatment strategies for this unique client group. Individual and focus group interviews with clinical practitioners, Rape Crisis staff members, and lay counsellors from each of the Rape Crisis Centres in the Western Cape, who had worked with rape survivors in this age group, were conducted, using an open-ended, semi-structured interview schedule. A grounded theory analysis of participants' experiences of working with adolescent rape survivors was then carried out. Patterns that emerged from this data tended to focus on basic guidelines that the practitioners' followed, the influence of the family and social systems on the therapeutic process, and the challenges that practitioners experienced in working therapeutically with these adolescents. This data was then combined with literature in the areas of trauma, adolescent development, and treatment strategies. The findings demonstrated that victimization in the stage of adolescence is a complex phenomenon that calls for maintaining a 'paradoxical position' by the practitioner, and that requires a multidimensional approach to treatment. On the basis of the findings, four broad categories, including 1) the stage of recovery of the client, 2) symptoms and behaviours present, 3) level of development the adolescent is functioning at, and 4) the influence of the system on the adolescent's healing, were suggested as starting points for planning interventions, and a number of treatment strategies that materialized from the study were discerned under these categories. Recommendations for future research were then proposed to further the body of knowledge in this field.

Includes bibliographical references (leaves 80-89).