“I don't have fur to protect me”: Children's experience of pain as communicated in forensic interviews following parental physical abuse

Noga Tsur, Carmit Katz, Bella Klebanov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Child maltreatment (CM) studies have contributed considerably to our understanding of the phenomenon epidemiology and consequences. However, the concept of children's pain has been surprisingly understudied in CM studies. Objective: The current study examined pain from the unique perspectives of children as conveyed in forensic interviews following parental physical abuse. Participants and settings: The sample consisted of 35 forensic interviews with Israeli children (21 girls) aged 4–14. Results: Thematic analysis of the interviews indicated the complex perception of pain by the children, in which while highlighted the intensive pain they endured during abuse, they also muted and minimized this pain in their descriptions. This tendency of the children to mute their pain is not surprising given their reality, which is manifested in complicated interactions with both the forensic interviewers and significant others in their lives. Conclusions: The discussion focuses on the association between muted pain experiences and the nature of traumatic experiences. Moreover, delving into the unique family dynamic described by the children advances our understanding of the way pain is embedded in the children's interactions with their surroundings; the family, the perpetrator, and the forensic interviewer. Potential links between peritraumatic pain in child abuse and posttraumatic chronic pain are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105420
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Volume120
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Keywords

  • Child abuse
  • Child maltreatment (CM)
  • Pain
  • Pain perception
  • Peritraumatic pain
  • Physical abuse

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