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By on September 14, 2009

Caregivers Talk with Children About Child Sexual Abuse

In a recently ePublished article in the Journal Child Maltreatment, a study finds that when caregivers talk to their children about child sexual abuse, they emphasize “stranger danger” despite the overwhelming majority of abuse is committed by someone acquainted with the child. The findings are not surprising.  As we consider the best ways to prevent child sexual abuse, we must examine the role of parents and caregivers beyond what they tell their children.  We should not shift the “responsibility” of preventing abuse to children but parents and caregivers should play a role in crating a safe environment for their children.

The full citation and abstract from SafetyLit after the jump:

Caregivers’ Efforts to Educate Their Children About Child Sexual Abuse: A Replication Study.

Deblinger E, Thakkar-Kolar RR, Berry EJ, Schroeder CM. Child Matreatment 2009; ePublished August 31, 2009

Affiliation: Institute at UMDNJ-School of Osteopathic Medicine.

DOI: 10.1177/1077559509337408

(Copyright © 2009, Sage Publications)

The current investigation examined parental efforts to educate their children about sexual abuse. Approximately 750 surveys were distributed to parents of kindergarten through third grade youngsters (mean age 8.5) in three New Jersey elementary schools. Participants were 289 guardians (39% response rate) who voluntarily completed a survey assessing demographic characteristics, caregivers’ direct or indirect experience with child sexual abuse, and their efforts to educate their children about the issue. As found previously, parents continue to disproportionately focus on strangers as potential offenders and provide limited information particularly in terms of the nature of sexual abuse and the secrecy associated with it. Parents with no direct or indirect experience with child sexual abuse were least likely to talk with their children about the issue in general and when they did so provided less information. These findings were surprisingly similar to earlier investigations despite methodological and sampling differences across investigations. Implications and limitations of the current survey findings discussed.

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