Caregivers’ Experiences of Discussing Body Safety and Child Sexual Violence Prevention Messages with Their Children Living with HIV


  • Kemist Shumba University of KwaZulu-Natal image/svg+xml
  • Nokuthula Cathrena Heath Zoë-life Innovative Solutions
  • Dewald Heath Zoë-life Innovative Solutions
  • Chipo Mutambo Zoë-life Innovative Solutions



COVID-19, KidzAlive, child sexual violence, child sexual abuse, body safety pamphlet


Zoë-life, a South African organisation that focuses on bringing wholeness to children, youths and families, designed and distributed a pamphlet titled “Teaching Children Body Safety”. This pamphlet helps parents and primary caregivers to teach their children about body safety and the prevention of sexual violence. In the current study, we sought to explore parents and primary caregivers’ experiences of discussing body safety and sexual violence prevention messages with their children living with HIV in South Africa. In the study, which was conducted in Durban among a Black African population in a township setting, we adopted a qualitative approach. The data were collected using the focus group method. Two focus groups were conducted with 24 purposively selected female parents and primary caregivers who had received the pamphlet during the COVID-19 lockdown period. The data were then analysed using Ritchie and Spencer’s analysis framework. All the standard ethical protocols were observed, including anonymity, confidentiality, informed consent, and voluntary participation. The findings highlighted the challenges encountered by parents and primary caregivers when teaching children about body safety and the prevention of sexual violence. The challenges include limited opportunities to promote privacy and prompts regarding talking to children, such as the cultural norms preventing adults from talking to children about genitalia using their actual names; little knowledge about the appropriate words, language and approaches to use when engaging children in discussions on body safety; and the fear of traumatising children. We recommend using the “Teaching Children Body Safety” pamphlet as a low-cost intervention to mitigate child sexual violence.


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How to Cite

Shumba, Kemist, Nokuthula Cathrena Heath, Dewald Heath, and Chipo Mutambo. 2023. “Caregivers’ Experiences of Discussing Body Safety and Child Sexual Violence Prevention Messages With Their Children Living With HIV”. Southern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development 35 (2):20 pages.



Received 2022-11-03
Accepted 2023-05-10
Published 2023-07-19