Journal Article

Low Socio-Economic Status Children are Disadvantaged in the Provision of School-Based Child Protection Programmes

FREDA BRIGGS and RUSSELL M. F. HAWKINS

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 26, issue 5, pages 667-678
Published in print October 1996 | ISSN: 0045-3102
e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.bjsw.a011140
Low Socio-Economic Status Children are Disadvantaged in the Provision of School-Based Child Protection Programmes

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Although child sexual abuse affects all social classes, there is evidence to show that the risk of abuse is higher in lower socio-economic status (SES) groups. Data from a research project to evaluate the school-based child protection programme taught in New Zealand show that, prior to exposure to the programme, children from the lower SES group were potentially at greater risk of sexual abuse due to their lower knowledge and skill base. After the programme, the low SES children were found to have gained less than their middle class peers and these differences persisted when children were retested 12 months later. The observed SES differences in benefits obtained from the child protection programme can be at least partially attributed to differences in the degree of parental involvement across social class. Children from low income families were the ones least likely to have parent representatives at meetings relating to the programme. Their parents were the least likely to reinforce safety concepts at home and low SES children were the ones least likely to trust their parents to provide protection. The low level of parental involvement was associated with lower levels of teacher commitment to child protection in low SES areas. The effectiveness of child protection programmes is likely to be enhanced if parents can be enticed to attend information sessions where the benefits of their involvement can be emphasized. The particular challenges remaining are how to interest the lower SES parents in education for child protection, ensure their cooperation with school-based teachings and raise the interest and commitment levels of child protection educators in low SES environments.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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