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As a caregiver, likely a single mother, how is one to respond to a society that discriminates against disability, and simultaneously sustains a culture of ubiquitous gender-based violence? This dilemma and the related findings of a transformative research study are presented in this talk.


The study was based upon research among several hundred caregivers of children and youth with disabilities registered on a Community-based Rehabilitation (CBR) programme in a Johannesburg township. Using mixed methods, the study journeyed with the increasingly empowered caregivers, who participated in developing and implementing several progressive interventions to address the vulnerabilities of their children to abuse.


Among others, these included a peer-led comprehensive sexuality education course initiated among over 500 children in a local school for children with educational support needs.


Dr. Jean Elphick is a child protection practitioner, child rights activist and researcher with a proven track-record of planning, establishing and leading highly effective, innovative interventions for vulnerable children in resource-scarce settings. In 2017, she was awarded a PhD in Development Studies from the University of Johannesburg's Department of Development Studies and Anthropology based on her thesis, Empowerment Outcomes: Evaluation of a Community based Rehabilitation (CBR) Empowerment Programme for Caregivers of Children with Disabilities in a South African Township.


Jean has a range of professional interests from inclusive development and human rights advocacy, to empowerment and evidence-based early intervention and prevention programming targeting under-served young people, including children with disabilities. She is currently leading the Sexual Violence in Schools in South Africa Gauteng Coalition, comprised of five national child protection and gender rights organisations.


  • To view the powerpoint presentation, click here

  • To view Evaluation Outcome study, click here.

  • To view a reader-friendly version of the Evaluation Outcome study, click here.

  • For a link to the facilitator's guide for "About Me", click here.

    Proteknôn is derived from two Greek words: "in front of" and "child". As our name implies, we are senior child protection researchers and practitioners, focused on what children are facing, especially as it relates to their care, protection and wellbeing. In order to do this, we are committed to learning from and with girls and boys, of all ages, backgrounds and capacities.

    For more information:

    Sponsored by:

    to Sexual Violence against Children with Disabilities in South African Townships


    About & Subscribe
    By Dr. Jean Elphick
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