Department of Psychology

Prof JA Nel

College of Human Sciences
School of Social Sciences
Department: Psychology
Professor
Fax: 012 429 3414
E-mail: nelja@unisa.ac.za

Qualifications

  • DLitt et Phil (Psychology) (Unisa, 2007)

NRF Rating

C3

Fields of academic interests

  • Community Psychology and Victimology: Crime and violence prevention/ trauma intervention - the victim empowerment and support movement; Community organising; Hate victimisation.
  • Sexology: Psychology of sexuality in Africa; Psychology of sexual minorities; Heterosexism in Psychology.

Field of Specialisation

  • Community Psychology and Victimology: Crime and violence prevention/ trauma intervention - the victim empowerment and support movement; Community organising; Hate victimisation.
  • Sexology: Psychology of sexuality in Africa; Psychology of sexual minorities (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons); Heterosexism in Psychology.
  • Social Psychology: Managing diversity and social transformation.
  • Group Psychotherapy; Group facilitation skills; Life Skills training.

 

Books

  • Breen, D.; Lynch, I.; Nel, J.A. & Matthews, I. 2016. Hate crime in transitional societies: the case of South Africa. In Schweppe, J. & Walters, M.A. (Eds). The Globalisation of Hate: Internationalizing hate crime? United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
  • Nel, J.A. & Breen, D. 2013. Victims of Hate crime. In Peacock, R. (Ed.) Victimology in South Africa. Second edition. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik.
  • Nel, J.A. & van Wyk, H. 2013. Victim Empowerment in South Africa. In Peacock, R. (Ed.) Victimology in South Africa. Second edition. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik.
  • Nel, J.A. & Lake, M. 2012. Sexual and gender identity disorders. In Burke, A. (Ed.) Abnormal Psychology in South Africa. Second edition. Cape Town: Oxford University Press.
  • Nel, J.A. 2009. Same-sex sexuality and health: Current Psycho-social Scientific Research in South Africa. In Reddy, V., Sandfort, T., & Rispel, L. (Eds.) Same-sex sexuality, HIV & AIDS and gender in South Africa. Proceedings of an International Conference on Gender, Same-sex sexuality and HIV/ AIDS, 9 – 11 May 2007. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council Press.
  • Nel, J.A. 2005a. Hate crimes: A new category of vulnerable victims for a new South Africa. In Davis, L., & Snyman, R. (Eds.) Victimology in South Africa. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik.– Note, revised chapter due 1 March 2012; additionally revising another chapter on Victim Empowerment in South Africa
  • Nel, J.A. 2005b. Moving from rhetoric to creating the reality: Empowering South Africa’s lesbian and gay community. In van Zyl, M., & Steyn, M. (Eds.) Performing queer: Shaping Sexualities 1994-2004 – Volume 1. Cape Town: Kwela publishers.
  • Nel, J.A. & Lake, M. 2005. Sexual and gender identity disorders. In Burke, A. (Ed.) Abnormal Psychology in South Africa. Cape Town: Oxford University Press.
  • Nel, J.A. 1998. Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders. South African Study Guide to Abnormal Psychology. Novello, A. (Ed.) Johannesburg: Thomson Publishing Inc.
  • Nel, J.A. & M. Steyn. 1997. Safety and Security and Mental Health. Mental Health Policy Issues for South Africa. Foster, D., M. Freeman & Y. Pillay (Eds.). Cape Town: MASA.

Journal articles

Breen, D.; Lynch, I.; Nel, J.A. & Matthews, I. 2016. Hate crime in transitional societies: the case of South Africa. In Schweppe, J. & Walters, M.A. (Eds). The Globalisation of Hate: Internationalizing hate crime? United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

Nel, J.A. & Breen, D. 2013. Victims of Hate crime. In Peacock, R. (Ed.) Victimology in South Africa. Second edition. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik.

Nel, J.A. & van Wyk, H. 2013. Victim Empowerment in South Africa. In Peacock, R. (Ed.) Victimology in South Africa. Second edition. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik.

Nel, J.A. & Lake, M. 2012. Sexual and gender identity disorders. In Burke, A. (Ed.) Abnormal Psychology in South Africa. Second edition. Cape Town: Oxford University Press.

Nel, J.A. 2009. Same-sex sexuality and health: Current Psycho-social Scientific Research in South Africa. In Reddy, V., Sandfort, T., & Rispel, L. (Eds.) Same-sex sexuality, HIV & AIDS and gender in South Africa. Proceedings of an International Conference on Gender, Same-sex sexuality and HIV/ AIDS, 9 – 11 May 2007. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council Press.

Nel, J.A. 2005a. Hate crimes: A new category of vulnerable victims for a new South Africa. In Davis, L., & Snyman, R. (Eds.) Victimology in South Africa. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik.– Note, revised chapter due 1 March 2012; additionally revising another chapter on Victim Empowerment in South Africa

Nel, J.A. 2005b. Moving from rhetoric to creating the reality: Empowering South Africa’s lesbian and gay community. In van Zyl, M., & Steyn, M. (Eds.) Performing queer: Shaping Sexualities 1994-2004 – Volume 1. Cape Town: Kwela publishers.

Nel, J.A. & Lake, M. 2005. Sexual and gender identity disorders. In Burke, A. (Ed.) Abnormal Psychology in South Africa. Cape Town: Oxford University Press.

Nel, J.A. 1998. Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders. South African Study Guide to Abnormal Psychology. Novello, A. (Ed.) Johannesburg: Thomson Publishing Inc.

Nel, J.A. & M. Steyn. 1997. Safety and Security and Mental Health. Mental Health Policy Issues for South Africa. Foster, D., M. Freeman & Y. Pillay (Eds.). Cape Town: MASA.

Professional positions, fellowships & awards

  • 2017     Inaugural Pan-African Psychology Union (PAPU) Congress of Psychology, Member of the Scientific Committee and Chair of the Sexuality Division of the Scientific Committee
  • 2017 – ongoing Member of the International Advisory Board of Harrington Park Press (a scholarly book publisher devoted to LGBTQ issues and professional practice)
  • 2016: Awarded an Established Researcher rating by the South African National Research Foundation (NRF)
  • 2014 – Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) selection to serve as panel member for a proposed International Consensus Study: Homosexuality in Africa
  • 2014     Psychological Society of SA (PsySSA) Chair of Scientific Committee of the 20th Anniversary Annual Psychology Congress
  • 2014 - ongoing Accepted as full member of the International Academy of Sex Research
  • 2013 – ongoing Psychological Society of SA (PsySSA) Sexuality and Gender Division member of Executive Committee and elected Vice Chair in 2016
  • 2013 - 2016      Psychological Society of SA (PsySSA) President Elect, President and Past President
  • 2012     Co-recipient of the Unisa Award for Excellence in Tuition for the module PYC3705 (Transformative Counselling Encounters) awarded at the Closing Ceremony of the University on 6 Dec 2012 (note, I was project leader of the related re-curriculation).
  • 2011 – 2012      XXX International Congress of Psychology, Member of Quality Assurance sub-committee of the Scientific Programme and Scientific Committee for ICP 2012
  • 2011     Received a certificate of recognition of 12 years contribution towards laying the foundation for the Victim Empowerment Sector in South Africa, among others, for being instrumental in the recognition of hate victimisation as priority area in the VEP integrated policy guidelines.
  • 2011 – ongoing Psychological Society of SA (PsySSA) Executive Committee member
  • 2010 – 2012      XXX International Congress of Psychology, Chair of the Sexuality Division (Division 35) of the Scientific Committee
  • 2008 – ongoing Psychological Society of SA (PsySSA) Council member
  • 2007 – ongoing Psychological Society of SA (PsySSA) representative on the International Psychology Network for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender and Intersex Issues (IPsyNET), hosted by the American Psychological Association
  • 2001 – 2006, and again since 2013        Member of the World Society of Victimology
  • 2001 – 2004      Member of International Association for the Study of Sexuality and Culture in Society (IASSCS)
  • 2000 – 2004      President of the SA Sexual Health Association (SASHA), a national professional association focussing on the sexual health of South Africans and the development of the field of sexology for health professionals
  • 2000     Joint recipient of the Marc Groenhuijzen Foundation Award at the 10th International Symposium on Victimology, held in Montreal, Canada, for my research into critical success factors for victim empowerment in SA.

Projects

PsySSA African LGBTI Human Rights project 
2012 - 2016, with potential extension till 2021

As a member of the Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA) Sexuality and Gender Division Executive Committee, I serve as principal investigator, co-researcher and postgraduate student supervisor of a $125 000-00 project primarily funded by the ARCUS Foundation (Note, an application to the ARCUS Foundation is currently underway for an additional 5 years funding, that is, till 2021). The aim is to position PsySSA as regional hub towards the promotion of the well-being and human rights of LGBTI persons on the African continent through, among others, the development of African psychological guidelines for sexual and gender diversity-affirmative practice and potentially also a UNISA/ Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA) post-graduate psychological course in African perspectives on sexuality and gender. I supervise the research of two doctoral- (C.J Victor and C McLachlan) and one masters student (K Miller), informed by this project. Two related journal articles have, to date, been published. Although several more are envisaged, at least one additional research output is currently in the pipeline: Victor, C.J. and Nel, J.A. Expanding the view of identities in transition: Developing an affirmative position statement on sexual and gender diversity (Submitted on 2 March 2017 for possible publication in a special issue of Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, focused on sexual orientation and gender identity).

Towards LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) Health and Well-Being
2013 - ongoing

Community-based civil society service organisations (CSOs) play a vital role in enhancing the well-being and psychological sense of 'community' among LGBTI persons. The general aim of this UNISA approved Community Engagement project, that to date has received R445 000-00, is to consolidate the long-standing relationship between the CSO OUT LGBT Well-being and UNISA in the interest of high quality LGBTI research, and related teaching and learning, towards the advancement of LGBTI health and well-being through evidence informed and sustainable community-based services, developing a body of knowledge and policy reforms. Products of this collaboration, to date, include the first quantitative research studies on the experiences of LGBT persons in three provinces of South Africa (2002 – 2006); successful completion at UNISA of at least five related theses/ dissertations (2005 – 2016); being at the forefront of securing the right to same-sex marriage (2006); and using a UNISA Strategic Projects Fund and South African Netherlands Project on Alternatives in Development (SANPAD) research process and related findings to establish LGBTI services in the North-West province (2010/1). Consideration is currently being given to submit a chapter informed by this project for inclusion in a book edited by Nduna et al, titled (Un)silence LGBTI experiences and identities in institutions of higher learning in Southern Africa, due for publication in 2018.

Monitoring the nature and impact of Hate crime in South Africa
2010 - 2020

The UNISA Department of Psychology is a founder member of the Hate Crimes Working Group (HCWG), a multi-sector workgroup that was established in late 2009 with the common goal of lobbying for interventions to address hate crimes in South Africa. Guided by the objective of contributing to the full enactment of the Hate Crimes Act once legislated, the Department, in 2010, initiated a Hate Crimes Monitoring Project aimed at strengthening the advocacy efforts of the HCWG. As principal investigator, project leader, and supervisor of the five year longitudinal study (2013 - 2017) that aims to determine and describe the nature and extent of hate crimes in South Africa, I also contribute to the international body of knowledge. The HCWG Hate & Bias Crime Monitoring Form and its accompanying User Guide (see output listed under ‘Other publications, reports and contributions’) is a rigorous research instrument developed with funding of R1 350 000-00 from the Open Society Foundation-SA, ethical clearance from UNISA, and in partnership with key CSOs, including the Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA). To date, two book chapters and one related journal article have been published. An Editorial for the South African Journal of Psychology and a doctorate (Y Mitchell) that I supervise will furthermore be informed by this study, as will several more journal articles I envisage co-authoring during 2018-2020.

Empowerment of Emerging South African LGBT Communities: The North-West Province as Case Study
2009 - 2018

I previously served as principal investigator, project leader and supervisor on this study funded by the UNISA Strategic Projects Fund and the South Africa Netherlands Project for Alternatives in Development (SANPAD), to the value of R1,9 million. A community report on the project has been published (listed elsewhere). Additionally, one presentation at a local and two at international conferences were informed by this project. For a variety of reasons, the finalisation of three manuscripts for publication in high impact, international, journals has been delayed, but will receive renewed attention in 2017/8 with the intention to publish at least two.

Strengthening the UNISA BPsych equivalence programme
2009 - 2017

The project is aimed at strengthening the UNISA Dept of Psychology BPsych equivalence programme by, among others, informing the recurriculation process currently under way and supplying students with relevant placement opportunities within the criminal justice system, and related National Victim Empowerment Programme, in partnership with key civil society organisations, such as LifeLine South Africa and/or government departments.

Other

Other publications, reports and contributions:

  • Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf). 2015. Diversity in Human Sexuality: Implications for policy in Africa. Consensus study report (May). ISBN Number: 978-0-9922286-9-9. Pretoria: ASSAf.
  • Victor, N; Nel, J.A. & Lynch, L. 2013. Developing a sexual- and gender diversity position statement for psychology professionals in South Africa. Conference Abstracts. Oral presentations. 1st International Conference on LGBT Psychology and related fields – Coming out for LGBT Psychology in the current international scenario (Lisbon, Portugal, 20-22 June 2013). Psychology, Community & Health: 2(2), 58-197, doi:10.5964/pch.v2i2.70.
  • Nel, J.A., van Wyk, H.& Mbatha, K. 2013. User guide: Hate & Bias Crime Monitoring Form. Johannesburg: Hate Crimes Working Group.
  • Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA) (Authored by Victor, N., Nel, J.A.; Lynch. I.; et.al.). (2013). Sexual and gender diversity position statement. Retrieved October 9, 2013, from http://www.psyssa.com.
  • Nel, J.A. 2013. Anene - A national symbol of the tide that has turned or simply another bloody South African statistic? PsyTalk (Official newsletter of the Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA). 2013 (1), 1-2.
  • Baird, H. (with support from Mitchell, Y., Nel, J.A. & Sandfort, T.G.S.). 2010. Same-sex sexuality in the North-West Province. Community report on outcomes of a research project. Pretoria: UNISA Centre for Applied Psychology. Available at: http://www.jwg.org.za/component/option,com_remository/Itemid,40/func,fileinfo/id,58/)
  • Nel, J.A. & Lomofsy, D. 2009. Baseline report on victim empowerment in South Africa (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNNODC) Project number: XAMT15). Pretoria: UNODC.
  • Nel, J.A. 2008. Understanding the challenges facing lesbian women, gay men, bisexuals and transgender persons. Some guidelines for service providers. A resource booklet of OUT LGBT Well-Being adapted for the Open Society Foundation for international application. Pretoria: OUT LGBT Well-Being.
  • Nel, J.A. & Judge, M. 2008a. Hate Crime in South Africa: Issues, challenges and strategies for action. Submission to the National Prosecuting Authority. June. Pretoria: UNISA Centre for Applied Psychology & OUT LGBT Well-Being.
  • Nel, J.A. & Judge, M. 2008b. Exploring hate crime – Issues and responses: An LGBT perspective. (pp82 – 87). In the Victim Empowerment Programme 10th Anniversary Conference Report. Durban, 18 – 20 Aug. Department of Social Development: Pretoria.
  • Judge, M. & Nel, J.A. 2007. Ensuring the Victims Service Charter works for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Submission to the National Department of Justice. Pretoria: OUT LGBT Well-Being and UNISA Centre for Applied Psychology.
  • Nel, J.A. 2004. Human rights abuses of LGBTI people in South African prisons. LGBTI-Specific Mental Health Needs and the Importance of LGBTI-affirmative Health Services. Jali Commission of Inquiry into the Department of Correctional Services. Written submission. Pretoria: Unisa Centre for Applied Psychology.
  • Nel, J.A. 2004. Sex Column Advisors: Do they have a role to play? Newsletter of the Southern African Sexual Health Association (SASHA), SASHA: Jhb.
  • Nel, J.A. 2003. Therapy Groups: An Important Tool in Addressing Issues Related to Sexual Orientation. Newsletter of the Southern African Sexual Health Association (SASHA), SASHA: Jhb.
  • Nel, J.A. & Kruger, D.J. 2003. From policy to practice: exploring victim empowerment initiatives in South Africa. A follow-up study. Interim technical report. Pretoria: Unisa.
  • Nel, J.A., Koortzen, P. & Jacobs, E. 2001. A Short Course in Victim Empowerment and Support. Study Guide of the Unisa Centre for Applied Psychology. Pretoria: Unisa.
  • Nel, J.A. & Kruger, D.J. 1999. From policy to practice: exploring victim empowerment initiatives in South Africa. Pretoria: Council for Scientific and Industrial Research ISBN0-7988-5437-5.
  • Nel, J.A. 1998. Police Officials as Victims of Trauma and Crisis: An Overview of Themes in Plenary Sessions. Proceedings of the National Conference on Police Officials as Victims, 25 - 26 February 1998. Johannesburg: Technikon SA
  • Nel, J.A. & Burgers, T.J. 1996. The South African Police Service – ‘Symptom bearer’ of the new South Africa? Track Two (a quarterly publication of the Centre for Conflict Resolution), 5(1) (March), pp 17 - 20.
  • Camerer, L. & Nel, J.A. 1996. Putting Victims on the Agenda. Proceedings of a National Workshop on Victim Empowerment and Support. IDP Monograph Series, 7 (November), pp 1 – 84
  • Nel, J.A. 1995. Post-shooting trauma - A contextual approach in the SA Police Service. Servamus, April, pp 15 - 16.
  • Nel, J.A. & de Lange, Z.C. 1993. Die Ideale Polisiebeampte   Mite of Realiteit?  Servamus, April, pp 11   13.
  • Nel, J.A. 1991. Die Persoonlikheidsbeeld van die S A Polisie. Servamus, February, pp 37   40.