Understanding the Perceptions of IsiXhosa-Speaking Caregivers on Disclosing Child Sexual Abuse in the Western Cape, South Africa





caregiver, child sexual abuse, disclosure, perception


The disclosure of child sexual abuse (CSA) is a major concern in South Africa. Previous research has emphasised the need to consider cultural norms, beliefs, religion, race and gender-specific characteristics when researching CSA disclosure. This study sought to explore the perceptions of isiXhosa-speaking caregivers in Kayamandi, Western Cape, South Africa, about the disclosure of CSA. A qualitative exploratory approach was used to select 10 caregivers using purposive and snowball sampling strategies. The data was collected by conducting individual face-to-face interviews using a semi-structured interview guide. The data collected was carefully recorded and categorised. Four key themes emerged, namely: IsiXhosa-speaking caregivers’ understanding of CSA; contributing factors for CSA; contrasting expectations and behaviour in caregiver disclosure of CSA; and actions and interventions to encourage disclosure of CSA to authorities. Data analysis demonstrated a complex interplay of personal, contextual and behavioural elements that influence the perceptions of isiXhosa-speaking caregivers. It is recommended that inclusive interventions be implemented to improve caregivers’ responses to the disclosure of CSA while prioritising cultural sensitivities, thus creating a supportive environment conducive to intervention and prevention.


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Author Biographies

Eunice Pretorius, North-West University

Post-graduate student, Forensic Practice, COMPRES, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus

Pieter Boshoff, North-West University

School of Psychosocial Behavioural Sciences (Social Work)


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How to Cite

Pretorius, Eunice, and Pieter Boshoff. 2024. “Understanding the Perceptions of IsiXhosa-Speaking Caregivers on Disclosing Child Sexual Abuse in the Western Cape, South Africa”. Southern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development 36 (2):21 pages. https://doi.org/10.25159/2708-9355/14066.



Received 2023-07-06
Accepted 2024-04-30
Published 2024-06-26