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Short Learning Programme
Concepts of child development and sexual behaviour
There is a need for short learning programs for social workers who work in the forensic field and want to improve their knowledge and skills. Not all students are in the position to study a full or part time master’s degree. The development of short learning programs could be used to train forensic social workers (family councilors) in the forensic field. The shortage of skilled social workers that are also well-trained in the specialized field of Forensic Social Work has resulted in the urgent need for this training. There is also an urgent need in the market for university approved and quality assured short learning programmes in forensic social work that is evidence based. This need arose because social workers are required to assess children and are then called as expert witnesses in court. Without proper training, they are not serving in the best interest of the child. In South Africa it will be in the best interest of all children that more social workers are trained, especially in the Office of the Family Advocate, South African Police Services and social workers in private practice that can assess children who are sexually abused. Social Workers working in the rural areas of South Africa are confronted with large numbers of children who are being abused and all parties in those communities will benefit if social workers are formally trained in doing evidence based forensic assessments.

Purpose of the course:

This Short Learning Programme will provide social workers with evidence-based knowledge and skills that is needed to interview children in the different forensic fields. This programme will therefor also assist social workers to understand the developmental phases of the child and their sexual behaviour in the context of the court system.

Admission requirements:

Admission requirements: 
4 Year Degree in Social Work and Registered at the SACSSP
Learning assumed to be in place: 
Prior learning related to the study field. English language proficiency and computer literacies to master online learning. NQF level 7 competencies

Course outcomes and assessment criteria :

Course outcomes and the associated assessment criteria: 

Study Unit


Assessment Criteria

  After completion of this course, participants will: Participant will be assessed on the following criteria:
  A critical understanding of the role of the forensic investigator and the therapist in cases of child sexual abuse.
  • Examine the scope of the role of the forensic investigator and the therapist in cases of child sexual abuse.
  • Interpret the role of the forensic investigator and the therapist based on a specific case of child sexual abuse.
  Integrated knowledge and engagement in the field of child (physical and cognitive) development and an understanding of the theories, methods and techniques relevant to cases of child sexual abuse.
  • Judge whether a child’s physical and cognitive development present within normal limits for his/her age group in order to recommend purposeful and effective interventions,
  • Critically discuss the child as a client relevant to cases of child sexual abuse
  • Formulate a hypothesis that need to be investigated
  • Reflect on the complex nature of emotional and behavioural problems that may occur in children,
  • Discuss the possible influence certain characteristics of cognitive development may have on the forensic interview and the child’s disclosure,
  • Integrated knowledge and critically understanding of the language development of the child.
  Demonstrate an understanding of the complexities and uncertainties of selecting and applying appropriate standard procedures, processes and techniques to effectively judge whether children’s sexual and non-sexual behaviours are symptoms of sexual abuse.
Use a range of specialise skills to identify, analyse and address complex problems in the field of child development drawing from the body of knowledge
  • Debate and critique when sexual and non-sexual behaviours are symptoms of sexual abuse.


The participant must attend all online sessions and must obtain a minimum of 50% for the total of all the assessment tasks in order to receive a certificate. Informal formative: - Reflective activities - Group discussions Formal formative: - MCQ - Short writing reflective writing Summative = SLP Mark - Case study based MCQ’s for
Method of assessment: 
Continuous Assessment will count 100% towards the final course mark. Category 1 – Case study based MCQ’s for each SU - 30% 10 questions x 3 = 30 (3 hours) Feedback strategy: Self-review automated feedback. Marking strategy: Automated marking Category 2 – Discussions – 20% 2x Discussion prompts mark for post and mark for 2 x replies Category 3 – Written Assignment 50% Assignment 1 - (4500 words). Assignment 2 – (4500 words) Feedback strategy: Marking strategy: Rubric

Additional information

Mode of delivery: 
Target group: 
Social Workers at the Family Advocate, SAPS and Private Practice
6 Months
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