Working With and Within Chaos
The Development of a Music Therapy Programme for Young Sex Offenders in South Africa
Keywords:young sex offender, group music therapy, diversion, South Africa, holistic rehabilitation
The Support Programme for Abuse Reactive Children, was initiated by the Teddy Bear Clinic (an NPO established to protect abused children) in South Africa in response to the increase of child-on-child offenders in this country. This short-term programme aims to offer holistic rehabilitation to first time young sex offenders and incorporates conventional diversion approaches alongside creative programmes, including group music therapy. Based on a review of my session notes, this paper considers challenges and positive developments I experienced over time as the programme’s music therapist from 2006 to 2016. Although I often experienced this work as chaotic, findings suggest that through co-creating a context-specific music therapy programme alongside group members, clinic staff and the broader community, music therapy has offered an increasingly relevant and valuable complement to the diversion programme. Continuing challenges within this work are also highlighted.
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