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dc.contributor.advisorZimmer-Gembeck, Melanie
dc.contributor.authorRudolph, Julia Irmgard
dc.date.accessioned2018-10-31T04:50:15Z
dc.date.available2018-10-31T04:50:15Z
dc.date.issued2018-06-02
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10072/380996
dc.description.abstractChild sexual abuse (CSA) is influenced by multiple individual and contextual risk and protective factors, requiring “an entire spectrum of necessary prevention strategies applied over time” (Prescott et al., 2010, p.3). Despite recognition of this complexity, CSA prevention over the last 30 years has primarily focused on educating children about CSA risks and teaching them the relevant protective behaviours to enact. Prevention advocates have recognised the need to include parents in prevention, however their role is usually limited to that of educator, teaching their children about CSA and protective strategies (Wurtele & Kenny, 2010; Zeuthen & Hagelskjær, 2013). The overarching purpose of this research was to identify potential future directions in CSA prevention, encompassing greater parental involvement and making the best use of parents’ protective potential. There were six specific aims: 1. To review the historical trajectory of CSA prevention and the rationale of child-focused approaches to CSA prevention, 2. To present a review and critique of child-focused CSA prevention, 3. To review the literature on the inclusion of parents in prevention, and to explore the prevention opportunities available to parents extending beyond parent-led child education, 4. To investigate parents’ discussion of CSA and related topics with their children, and to better understand the factors associated with such discussions, especially the role of parenting practices, 5. To present parents' reports of their views of CSA, prevention strategies and their role in protection, and 6. To draw together these findings in order to address CSA prevention with a focus on parent involvement and parenting practices that may be protective against CSA. To fulfil these aims, two reviews of the literature and two empirical studies were conducted, with each contributing to one or more of the aims. The first review summarized the history of child education as CSA prevention, and presented the trajectory which led to its use as the primary prevention focus. It included critiques of the existing evidence and proposed future opportunities in this area of research and prevention. As parent-led child education is liable to the same criticisms as school-based education, the second review considered what can be drawn from the research on CSA risk factors and positive parenting, with the goal of identifying new and innovative ways for parents to be more involved in CSA prevention. Following the presentation of these two published reviews, the two empirical studies are presented. In Study 1, 248 parents, from Australia and the UK, responded to an online questionnaire. Results indicated that, although parents seem reluctant to discuss the details of CSA with their children, almost all had discussed body integrity and abduction dangers. Moreover, parents who reported more CSA education of their children also reported using more positive parenting practices (such as monitoring, involvement and communication). Several other factors, suggested in previous research to explain low rates of parental discussion, were also investigated, with results demonstrating that parents who educated their children about CSA were also more likely to discuss other sensitive topics and to perceive children in general to be at greater risk of CSA. However, there was no significant associations of CSA discussions and parental knowledge about CSA, parents' efficacy (regarding general parenting or CSA protection) or appraisal of their own child’s CSA risk. In Study 2, 24 parents were interviewed about their understanding of CSA and attitudes and beliefs about protection and CSA prevention. The results show that parents demonstrated a good understanding of CSA, grooming and risk factors. Yet, notably, some discrepancies in parents’ understanding and feelings about CSA and its prevention were revealed. For example, despite being aware that CSA usually occurs within children’s close social networks and within established relationships, almost all parents concentrated on abduction and strangers when considering prevention for their own children. Also, even the parents who believed child education to be key to prevention did not give their children comprehensive protection information, with some providing extremely vague and limited messages. In addition, of the parents who gave their children the most comprehensive information about CSA and prevention, almost all had some doubts about the method. In fact, the majority of all parents expressed some skepticism about the efficacy of education and almost all worried about its side effects. Although half of parents deemed parenting to be the best prevention method, a large majority of parents had high expectations of their children’s capacity to recognize and resist abuse. Taken together, the findings presented in this thesis are drawn upon in the General Discussion to identify future directions for CSA prevention involving parents in new ways. The theme of the thesis - that the most significant parental contribution to CSA protection is their capacity to create safer environments for their children and nurture their children’s positive well-being - could be used to modify the design, creation, implementation and evaluation of prevention strategies to include parenting-targeted interventions – focusing more on parents as protectors and less on parents as educators.en_US
dc.languageEnglish
dc.language.isoen
dc.publisherGriffith University
dc.publisher.placeBrisbane
dc.subject.keywordsChild sexual abuse preventionen_US
dc.subject.keywordsParentingen_US
dc.subject.keywordsBody integrityen_US
dc.subject.keywordsAbduction dangersen_US
dc.subject.keywordsPositive well-beingen_US
dc.titleParents as Protectors: Reviewing the Focus of Child Sexual Abuse Prevention to Include Parentingen_US
dc.typeGriffith thesisen_US
gro.facultyGriffith Healthen_US
gro.rights.copyrightThe author owns the copyright in this thesis, unless stated otherwise.
gro.hasfulltextFull Text
dc.contributor.otheradvisorShanley, Dianne
gro.thesis.degreelevelThesis (PhD Doctorate)en_US
gro.thesis.degreeprogramDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)en_US
gro.departmentSchool of Applied Psychologyen_US


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