Calling for a comprehensive approach: Violence prevention and early childhood development

  • Joanne Phyfer African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum
  • Lorenzo Wakefield
Keywords: Violence, violent crime, social issues, violence prevention, early childhood deveopment, South Africa


Violence and violent crime are significant social problems in South Africa. Yet currently these problems are only addressed as or after they occur, with the state and civil society missing valuable opportunities to prevent violence before it happens. This article focuses on the intersection between early childhood development services and primary violence prevention interventions. It encourages a developmental approach to violence prevention by promoting healthy physical and social development and preventing direct and indirect exposure to violence during early childhood. The article outlines the extent to which this approach is currently reflected in South Africa’s policy framework and proposes areas of intervention based on local and international literature.

Author Biographies

Joanne Phyfer, African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum
Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention
Lorenzo Wakefield
Consortium on Crime and Violence Prevention
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Research articles