Barriers to disclosing child sexual abuse (CSA) in ethnic minority communities: A review of the literature and implications for practice in Australia
Embargoed until: 2020-12-01
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Research on child sexual abuse (CSA) among ethnic minority communities in Australia is essentially absent. To begin to address the gap, a systematic literature review was conducted; which necessarily borrowed from overseas to help inform the national context. A wide array of barriers to disclosure were identified, suggesting that this is a fundamental issue for ethnic minorities. The most significant of these barriers appears to be the need to protect family name. This also leads to non-supportive and protective responses from non-offending mothers, however this experience (although more intense) is shared with the Western mainstream. In comparison, fear of stigmatising their whole community is a unique barrier and highlights that racism is a significant and additional burden. The findings suggest that service worker training in Australia is critical for informing professionals of: the importance of family reputation for collectivist groups; the importance of responding supportively and protectively to child victims who have disclosed to them first; the cross-cultural complexities that surround construals of ‘child safety’; educating non-offending mothers about the importance of at least believing their child's disclosure (associated with mediating mental illness among victims, but also culturally appropriate because it acknowledges the protective role of family cohesion in collectivist cultures and the high motivation to avoid social exclusion – the most common reprisal for shaming the family name); exploring acculturation as a possible predictor of disclosure; and the risk of racism being overlooked or minimised. Overall, it is argued that practice informed by a well-developed national research agenda is critical.
Children and Youth Services Review
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Social Work not elsewhere classified