Original Articles

Street Children's Experiences of Aggression during Interaction with Police

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 18, issue 4, 2008 , pages: 597–602
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2008.10820239
Author(s): Aneesa MoollaUniversity of Johannesburg,, Chris MyburghUniversity of Johannesburg,, Marie PoggenpoelUniversity of Johannesburg,


The research investigated street children's experiences of aggression during interaction with police. The participants were 16 black male street children (aged =13 to 18 years) residing in a temporary shelter in Hillbrow of Johannesburg. Data were collected through phenomenological individual interviews, drawings and group interviews. Street children experienced aggression during interaction with police in a variety of ways which included physical abuse, verbal abuse accompanied by threats, and sexual abuse. Street children associated these experiences of police aggression with negative feelings such as fear, a sense of hopelessness and uncertainty, abandonment/rejection, sadness, loss of trust, disillusionment and intense resentment/vengeance. Life skills facilitation and peer support program could assist these children to interact with the police in healthier ways.

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