Pretoria - The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) has come up with three principal recommendations that might assist government in understanding, preventing and combating violent crime in South Africa.
One of the principal recommendations of the study undertaken by the centre is that developmental crime prevention should be enhanced.
Briefing reporters on the study on Monday, CSRV senior researcher, David Bruce, said the full report would be released at the end of the year.
Government in 2006 commissioned the CSVR to conduct a study on the violent nature of crime in South Africa.
Elaborating on this recommendation, Mr Bruce said these interventions would be targeted at high risk groups such as families headed by unmarried/single mothers in low income communities, to help with parenting practise.
This recommendation comes as figures reveal that there were 3 478 children in detention at various centres in the country by the end of May.
The figure includes children who are awaiting trial at the places of safety run by the Department of Social Development (1 669) and at Correctional Services facilities (820). Children already sentenced at correctional facilities stand at 889.
The top six crimes committed by these children are murder, rape, serious and violent assault, robbery aggravated, house breaking and theft.
Child-headed households should be regarded as deserving of similar types of interventions.
"These are measures such as: sending public health nurses or equivalent professionals to visit the homes of high-risk families, such as low-income families, and those with teenage or unmarried first-time mothers to help them with parenting practices, mental-health problems and to address the use of tobacco and alcohol," recommends the study.
This, according to Mr Bruce, means providing adult mentors to provide a sustained caring relationship and role models to youths aged 6-18 who live in single-parent families below the poverty line.
Further, providing professional child-care workers or using preschool and other programmes to increase the cognitive and social abilities of children in underprivileged socioeconomic surroundings have also been identified as a possible solution.
Mr Bruce said this would help them develop without the disadvantages of inconsistent and uncaring parenting.
The second recommendation the study makes, is a need to contest the culture of violence through national programmes.
"This means the country should work against violence through community based structures," said Mr Bruce, adding that these would include creating safer public spaces, schools, prisons and homes.
"We need to send out the message that violence is unacceptable and as a nation we are not acceptant of violence," he said.
Mr Bruce added that social tolerance and acceptance of violence was a contributing factor to the high level of violent crime in the country.
The third principal recommendation made is the need to strengthen evidence, supervision of investigation and prosecution.
This includes support to police and prosecutors regarding good practises in working with witnesses and victims including suspect interviews and confessions.
Other recommendations in the study include the implementation of the Firearms Control Act and prohibiting advertising of alcohol.
"Its clear that alcohol plays a role in crime and what the media then does is glamorise the use of it ...which is misleading because it does not give them a clear distinction of what it can do," added Mr Bruce.
The study also recommends that government should address the macro-economic situation in the country.
It says it should also do more in promoting people's sense of self respect and feeling.
It further recommends that government should engage men through public education on masculinity and sexuality in addition to victim empowerment programmes which should also recognise men as victims.