Journal Article

Theorizing Sexuality, Sexual Abuse and Residential Children’s Homes: Adding Gender to the Equation

Lorraine Green

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 35, issue 4, pages 453-481
Published in print June 2005 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online April 2005 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Theorizing Sexuality, Sexual Abuse and Residential Children’s Homes: Adding Gender to the Equation

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This article is primarily concerned with emphasizing the importance of gender in relation to understanding and responding to sexuality and sexual abuse/exploitation issues within residential children’s homes. Initially, past research and inquiry reports are analysed and evaluated, not only in relation to their overall conclusions and recommendations, but also with regard to their consideration, misrepresentation or omission of gender issues. A theoretical framework is then drawn up which takes into account historical debates and contestations around notions of gender. This illustrates how gender is frequently conflated or merged with understandings about sex and sexuality. This theoretical conceptualization is then extended to consider the effects of the social construction of childhood and childhood sexuality, and how sex, gender and sexuality may commonly be represented and understood within organizational, public-sphere contexts. Important findings from a recent indepth qualitative research project focused on sexuality issues in children’s homes are then presented thematically and through narrative excerpts. These findings are also located within and made comprehensible in relation to the theoretical framework previously constructed. The conclusion examines the implications of the findings presented and their theorization, and briefly evaluates the usefulness of recent policy initiatives intended to improve the care and development of ‘looked after’ children.

Keywords: Children’s homes; gender; sexuality; sexual abuse

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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