DSD programmes crucial to restoring the human dignity of youth at risk | Western Cape Government


DSD programmes crucial to restoring the human dignity of youth at risk

17 September 2020

The Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez said, “In an effort to reduce all forms of violence in South African society, we all need to challenge the destructive and outdated expectations around manhood that are counter-productive to building a gender-inclusive society, and to curb the underlying causes of crime and in doing so, raising the safety of communities as a whole, and thus restoring the pride and dignity to all affected communities.

I believe that our Department’s Social Crime Prevention interventions are crucial to restoring the human dignity of youth are at risk and those youth who have been in confrontation with the law. These young individuals must be equipped with the necessary tools to be proactive citizens  in order to make a positive impact in the communities that they live in.” 

Minister Fernandez continued, “Addressing the scourge of violence is no quick fix! We do however have to be more pro-active, in terms of our responses to violence, and explore effective ways in which to prevent violence. We need to challenge those norms in our society, that not only place women and children at risk of being victimized but males and the LGBTQIA+ community too, in an effort to reduce different forms of violence taking place.”

The provincial Department of Social Development (DSD) provides a wide-array of crime prevention and support programmes. These interventions provide a range of specialised probation services to persons (children, youth and adults) in conflict with the law and their victims to reduce recidivism, through:

  • Social crime prevention programmes to create and sustain a positive social environment, address the social risk factors of crime and violence in high-risk areas and increase resilience to these risk factors;
  • A range of reintegration programmes to children and adults in conflict with the law who completed community-based and/or residential programmes to promote stable interpersonal relationships and reduce their chances of re-offending;

Over the last 3 financial years, R 782. 517 million has been allocated towards our Department’s Child and Youth Care Centres, to identify and support young people at risk of violent or criminal behaviour which include the Children’s Act residents, trial awaiting residents, sentenced residents and residents in the substance abuse treatment program. This is rendered at 7 of the Department’s  secure care and treatment centres across the Province.

During the same period, R 20. 69 million has been allocated towards Community-based programmes to identify and support young people at risk of violent or criminal behaviour.

48 438 people participated in programmes, to identify and support young people at risk of violent or criminal behaviour during this period.

Minister Fernandez said, ‘We call on all community members to welcome all young youth who are reintegrated into their respective communities with open arms. Dignity is crucial to their empowerment, confidence and reducing our youth at risk from re-offending or committing acts of crime.” 

The Department with the support of its NPO partners implements the following programmes, to identify and support young people at risk of violent or criminal behaviour: 

  • Developmental Assessment: to identify strengths, needs and risk and provide psycho-social support
  • Rhythm of Life: for making healthier life choices and avoiding risks
  • Wake Up Call/ Stop to Start anti-Substance abuse programme- to acknowledge and overcome drug and alcohol use and provide a supportive environment for sustained abstinence 
  • In the Mirror / I am me- Sexual offenders programme: to break the cycle of inappropriate sexual behaviour
  • Reverse Your Thinking Restorative Justice Programme: provides an opportunity for young persons to take responsibility for their actions by facing their victims and making amends.
  • Home-based Supervision: monitoring the restricted movement of the young person and providing psycho-social support
  • Homicide prevention programme: an offence specific program to assist the offender in coping with the emotions and rehabilitate him to go back to society as a law-abiding citizen 
  • Anger Management programme: to learn how to identify triggers and develop skills to express and resolve frustrations calmly, without resorting to violence. 
  • Severe substance abuse programme: 9 weeks inpatient treatment programme
  • Early intervention residential substance abuse programme: create awareness of the early signs of abuse       
  • Mind the gap/ Planting Hope Aftercare Programme: to monitor and support all young persons who completed behaviour modification programmes

“Our department cannot solely achieve improving the lives of our youth alone. Our existing safety net should be coupled with the entrenchment of values and by increasing trust between Government and communities. 

Without the support of the communities we serve, it’s unlikely that we will co-create a violence-free society in which the dignity and hope of all our citizens are restored,” concluded Minister Fernandez.

For more information about our other services, please refer to the Western Cape Department’s Website below:


Media Enquiries: 

Joshua Covenant Chigome

Spokesperson for the Minister of Social Development, Minister Sharna Fernandez

Tel: 021 483 9217

Cell: 083 661 4949

Email: Joshua.chigome@westerncape.gov.za­