Childhood Sexual Abuse: Prevention and Intervention

Childhood Sexual Abuse: Prevention and Intervention

Dorothy Bhandari Deka (S. M. Hospital and Diagnostic Centre, India) and Mansi Jadeja (The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3958-2.ch010
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This chapter focuses on various assessment tools, interventions and preventive measures which could help children cope up with the trauma. It also extends its focus on few particular therapeutic measures especially designed for children in order to help them cope with the experience. Data from recent researches helps in creating awareness for preventive measures aimed for families, schools and communities in general.
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Sexual abuse with any individual whether young or adult is a traumatic experience and is an important area of concern. The effects could be long term in many cases as it impacts the individual physically and psychologically. The most alarming type of sexual abuse is the one committed with children. Experiences of sexual abuse faced during childhood can have negative effects into adulthood like mood and anxiety issues, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance disorders, low self-esteem, depression and an overall unhappy image of self and other relationships. It may also lead the child in developing sexual behaviour issues as the child may not have witnessed appropriate sexual behaviour. It may also be associated with sexual identity confusion, sexual dysfunction and sexual risk-taking behaviour in later life (Kathleen, 2001).

The World Health Organization (WHO, 1999) defines child sexual abuse as involvement of a child in sexual activity that he/she does not fully comprehend, is unable to give informed consent to, or is not developmentally prepared for and cannot consent to, or that violates the laws or social taboos of the society. How children cope with sexual abuse depends a lot on the kind of attachment they have with their significant others. According to Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2013, children with secure attachment styles are more likely to trust that if they shared about their sexual abuse experience then they will be helped by others whereas children who believe that they have no one to share it with, may end up being confused about what happened and even think that they themselves would have been at fault. Thus, it becomes extremely important as to how adults especially parents create a sense of security and trust building in the children in order for them to be able to seek help when needed. Thus, there are different sources from which children can receive help like parents, school, community and the like.

The present chapter focuses on preventive measures and various interventions which could help children cope up with the trauma. It is important to know what child sexual abuse is and how it affects the child but equally important is to know that how we can further prevent such negative experiences and have interventions to help them on a psychological level.

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