Profiling Child Victims in Schools

On Thursday the 22nd of March, the members of Sizabantwana had a very interesting and informative meeting with Mr Ephraim Sibanyoni. Mr. Sibanyoni is a forensic criminologist and works as a lecturer in the criminology and forensics studies discipline at the UKZN. Mr Sibanyoni was very eager to contribute to the wonderful initiative of Sizabantwana, and offered to share some of his insights with the teachers in order to help them better identify those learners in their classes who may be victims of bullying, neglect and abuse.

Mr Sibanyoni facilitated the meeting in a very informal and relaxed way that enabled the teachers to ask questions and allowed the group to share some of their thoughts and experiences. The meeting started off with a discussion of what criminology is as well as the concept of profiling, and how profiling skills may help teachers identify those learners who may be victims of bulling or abuse. Profiling is a way of identifying trends in history and personal characteristics that are likely to predict a person's behaviour or vulnerability.

Mr. Sibanyoni firstly discussed the profile of a bullying victim and many of the teachers were able to recognize the characteristics typical of children who are likely to be bullied. These children often have low self-esteem, lack trust, are introverted, are physically weak and have difficulty relating to peers (to name a few). It was further discussed that if teachers are able to identify these learners, they may be able to intervene and help or advise those learners. Teachers have a vital role in identifying and helping children in need as they form one of the three supportive agents for children - parents, school and community. It is up to teachers to be available and reachable as a trustworthy and helpful agent so that children who are victims of abuse feel comfortable to approach them.

Mr Sibanyoni started discussing the issue of abuse and how teachers may identify those learners who are victims, however, we ran out of time and so the teachers have asked if Mr. Sibanyoni could return. The meeting was very enjoyable and all of the teachers had experiences of dealing with victims of bulling and abuse and found the information highly useful and relate-able. For that reason we have asked Mr Sibanyoni to please join us again as the teachers would really like to discuss some cases.

On the 19th of April, Mr Sibanyoni returned to talk through some pertinent case studies with the teachers.

The teachers thoroughly enjoyed this informal discussion style meeting, where they were able to talk about specific cases and issues that they have experienced with their learners and brainstorm solutions with their colleagues with expert facilitation.

Thank you very much Mr Ephraim Sibanyoni for sharing such a useful and informative topic, that many of the teachers thoroughly enjoyed.

Your time and knowledge was greatly appreciated and we look forward to hearing from you again.

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