Journal Article

The Vulnerabilities of Children whose Parents have been Sexually Abused in Childhood: Towards a New Framework

Carol-Ann Hooper and Juliet Koprowska

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 34, issue 2, pages 165-180
Published in print March 2004 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online March 2004 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bch020
The Vulnerabilities of Children whose Parents have been Sexually Abused in Childhood: Towards a New Framework

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Concerns about the parenting capacity of adults with a history of childhood sexual abuse have often been framed in individualizing and pathologizing ways. This paper draws on qualitative research with twenty-four women survivors of childhood sexual abuse to develop a new framework for understanding the possible vulnerabilities of their children that may help inform anti-oppressive practice. The framework places the mother-child relationship in its broader context, taking account of the role of the immediate family, the extended family, the community and the state. Within each level of context we identify the range of issues that could contribute to children’s vulnerability, elaborating the processes involved. Some issues recur within different contexts, for example the impacts of survivors’ issues around attachment, and others connect across contexts, such as the impact on children of deterioration in their mothers' mental health when appropriate services are not available. All of these issues may affect survivors’ well-being and access to social support and hence their ability to care effectively for their children. Ways of supporting both survivors and their children involving greater collective responsibility for children, effective collaboration between mental health services and child-care services, and professional responses which take account of contextual issues are identified.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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