Background: Many children worldwide come into contact with child protection social workers (CPSW) following child sexual abuse (CSA). Surprisingly, little is known concerning how they experience and perceive these encounters. Objective: The current study was designed to examine the way adults who underwent CSA experienced and perceived child protection services (CPS) in Israel as conveyed in their written testimonies. Method: The current sample included 83 written testimonies sent to the Israeli Independent Public Inquiry on CSA, analyzed using inductive thematic analysis. Results: The participants' testimonies uncovered two main themes: 1) experiences with CPSW interventions, including being disregarded, abandoned and disbelieved; and 2) constructions of the CPSW practice as poor, maladapted and abusive. Some participants described their active efforts to change the system from within. Conclusions: The participants' testimonies, which reflected the negative manifestations of neoliberal policy in the CPS, will be broached in the discussion section, alongside two other significant concepts: child participation and a context-informed perspective of child risk and protection. The ramifications for policy and practice will be expanded while acknowledging the complex role of social workers in CPS.
- Adults who underwent child sexual abuse
- Child protection services
- Child sexual abuse