Journal Article

Unasked Questions or Unheard Answers? Policy Development in Child Sexual Abuse


in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 26, issue 1, pages 37-52
Published in print February 1996 | ISSN: 0045-3102
e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Unasked Questions or Unheard Answers? Policy Development in Child Sexual Abuse

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Despite an increase in both publicity on child sexual abuse and initiatives from government and voluntary agencies, it is by no means obvious that the position of the majority of sexually abused children has been significantly improved. Most sexually abused children still do not disclose the fact that they are being abused and it has been argued that new ways of approaching the problem of child sexual abuse are needed. A study was made of the policy development work being carried Out by the children's charities and by survivors' organizations in this area. Individual survivors were also questioned as to the type of help they needed when children to enable them to end or escape the abuse. It emerged that, in the main, the charities espouse pathologized/legalistic solutions to the problem of child sexual abuse. In contrast, survivors' organizations tended to adopt a view of the problem which challenges societal attitudes, male sexual socialization, and the labelling of victims as passive and damaged. This article attempts to find explanations for why these different approaches have been taken and examines the implications for policy development in this area. It concludes that social workers and the children's charities could benefit considerably from greater collaboration with both survivors and survivors' organizations.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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