Journal Article

Cultural Barriers to the Disclosure of Child Sexual Abuse in Asian Communities: Listening to What Women Say

Philip Gilligan and Shamim Akhtar

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 36, issue 8, pages 1361-1377
Published in print December 2006 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online October 2005 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Cultural Barriers to the Disclosure of Child Sexual Abuse in Asian Communities: Listening to What Women Say

Show Summary Details


There is apparent under-reporting of child sexual abuse in Britain’s Asian communities and a varied capacity amongst professionals to respond with cultural competence. Professional approaches originate in cultural contexts, which are often different from those of most British Asians. If the proportion of children and non-abusing carers from Asian communities who access relevant services is to increase, professionals need to develop better understandings of cultural imperatives which determine behaviour in those communities. Consultations with Asian women in Bradford reinforce the view that culturally competent practice and respectful dialogue are essential to the protection of children. They also highlight a number of recurring themes. Members of Asian communities are aware of child sexual abuse, they recognize that the issue needs to be addressed by all communities and they report that many of those affected within their own communities have found it difficult to access relevant services. These consultations, like reports of similar work elsewhere, indicate that difficulties, which appear to arise from Asian women’s fears about how agencies will respond, are frequently compounded by the impact of cultural imperatives arising from izzat (honour/respect), haya (modesty) and sharam (shame/embarrassment), which have a considerable influence on how many will behave.

Keywords: Sexual abuse; Asian communities; Bradford; cultural competence; izzat

Journal Article.  7297 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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