Educators’ Experience of Managing Sexually Abused Learners: Implications for Educational Support Structures

  • Tshepo Tlali
  • Samantha Moldan


The purpose of this study was to establish the personal impact that managing sexually abused learners had on primary school educators working in an East London (South Africa) community. In addition, the researchers sought to establish what support these educators felt they needed in order to help alleviate the personal impact that managing sexually abused learners might have on them. A phenomenological approach was employed to address the research questions. Using availability-sampling methods, four educators from a local primary school were interviewed and the data systematically analysed in accordance with Morrisette's (1999) seven–step procedural model. The present study confirmed the finding of Skinner (1999) and Mzamo (2003) that managing cases of sexually abused learners had a profound personal effect on the participants. What was most commonly felt was a sense of frustration with the justice system, as well as a sense of personal responsibility. In addition, the participants felt that they needed support structures to assist them in managing sexual abuse cases in the school. In particular, they felt that they needed a forum where they could share their own experiences and feelings, as well as receive guidance on how to deal with problems in their class. A need for more support from professional psychologists was also expressed, as well as a need for counselling skills training and general training in the area of child sexual abuse. It is hoped that these findings will prove useful in providing guidelines for the development of appropriate support structures for educators managing cases of child sexual abuse in South African schools. More research on the subject needs to be conducted within South Africa, however, in order to ensure that the support structures implemented address context-specific needs.

Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology, Volume 5, Edition 1 April 2005

Author Biographies

Tshepo Tlali
University of Fort Hare (East London campus)
Samantha Moldan
Cape Town, South Africa

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1445-7377
print ISSN: 2079-7222