Walking the Tightrope: Youth Resilience to crime in South Africa

  • Report/Study

Walking the Tightrope: Youth Resilience to crime in South Africa – Resources


Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention


Patrick Burton, Lezanne Leoschut, Angela Bonora

Publication date

01 Sep 2009

Uploaded by:

Patrick Burton

Uploaded on

03 Nov 2015

Downloads & Links resources


Results of a study conduced in four provinces, intended to identify the most significant risk and protective factors relating to young people, within South Africa.

On the whole, the study was intended to yield a more thorough understanding of the resilience factors among young people in the South African context. To do this, the correlates underpinning youth criminality were explored while simultaneously
examining the factors that strengthen resilience to crime among the youth. The study juxtaposed two sets of samples, namely: an offender sample (comprising young offenders, their parents/primary caregivers and siblings); and a nonoffender
sample (comprising young non-offenders, their parents/primary caregivers and siblings). It was presumed that young people who choose not to commit crime are best suited to provide information on the factors that discourage youth criminal behaviour. In both samples each respondent’s life history, community context, family and peer networks, access to resources and services, level of education, life opportunities and employment possibilities were explored.
The objectives of the study were threefold, namely:

  1. to identify factors of resilience to crime and violence among young people in order to better design interventions aimed at enhancing resilience and to inform policy initiatives addressing crime and safety;
  2. to identify the most influential risk factors for crime and violence within the South African context; and
  3. to prioritise these factors based on advanced analysis between the offender and non-offender populations.