Prevention and intervention for victims of violence in Occupational Therapy

Wendy Young


South Africa has one of the highest rates of violent crime in the world resulting in a significant public health concern. The adverse effects are not limited to death and physical injury, but also include numerous other issues which are of immediate concern to occupational therapists, such as depression, anxiety and occupational disabilities. These are risk factors for substance abuse, relationship difficulties and unsafe sexual practices. Intergenerational effects occur when children witness, or experience violence and a cycle of violence is established. Yet, occupational therapists contributing to the South African Journal of Occupational Therapy, South African Society of Hand Therapists and the 2018 World Federation of Occupational Therapy congress do not appear to have prioritised this topic. Occupational therapists have been called to address the social determinants of health, to rethink their roles, to become activists and to promote justice. This opinion piece serves as a stepping-stone to further encourage South African occupational therapists to consider a turnaround (pivot) and face the challenge of becoming leaders in the Prevention and Intervention for victims of Violence in Occupational Therapy (PIVOT).

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ISSN 0038-2337 (print), ISSN 2310-3833 (online)

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