The subject that was investigated was the reactions that children, in middle childhood, experienced after being involved in an armed robbery. There were three reasons for choosing this topic, the primary one being that the researcher has come across very little research around this topic. Another reason was that it fits within the social work context, as social workers are interested in early intervention and prevention methods. Lastly, the researcher, who is a social worker and works with children, wishes to be able to offer her clients the best service available, to aid them through the trauma of an armed robbery. The problem that was identified can therefore be seen as the lack of knowledge on how children react after being involved in an armed robbery. The goal of the research was to explore the reactions of children in middle childhood who have been involved in an armed robbery. The researcher used a qualitative approach to the research study, as it was most effective in gaining the meaning that the respondents gave to the armed robbery. The data was gathered through the case study strategy and semi-structured interviews were conducted. The researcher interviewed the parents of the children involved in armed robberies where possible, otherwise she interviewed the professionals who had worked with the children. With regard to the sampling method used for the research project, the researcher used non-probability sampling as there was no set list of children who had been involved in armed robberies When looking at the available literature around the topic, it is generally agreed that the level of development that the child is at, will impact how the child reacts to trauma. Middle childhood is generally accepted to be the ages of six to twelve years, where there is a general emotional, cognitive, behavioural and physiological development. There are also a number of factors that influence how a child will respond, such as age. The literature also concluded that a traumatic experience is an occurrence that is not part of a child’s normal everyday routine and it is often unanticipated and very frightening, like the experience of an armed robbery. However, after extensive searching, the researcher found very little literature available on the specific trauma of an armed robbery. The findings of this research project showed that every child had several reactions to being involved in an armed robbery. Emotional reactions were however the most common, and these included reactions such as fearfulness, clinginess and worrying. Behavioural reactions were the next most common to occur within the respondents and included reactions such as afraid of being alone and of the dark. Physical and social reactions were not as common, but were still experienced and included reactions such as headaches and nightmares, as well as the fear of people the same race as that of the robbers. When looking at the above-mentioned reactions, it also became evident that there was a general theme of fear found in all four categories It was also discovered in the research process that the reactions that children experienced during the trauma of an armed robbery were the same as that of children who had experienced other traumas.
Dissertation (MSD (Play Therapy))--University of Pretoria, 2007.