The social response to child sexual abuse: Examining parents, perpetrators, professionals and media responses as described in survivors' testimonies to the Israeli Independent Public Inquiry

Afnan Attrash-Najjar, Carmit Katz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: CSA is an extremely adverse experience, and its prompt and early disclosure is vital. Whether the effects of disclosure are positive or negative depends largely on the recipients' reactions to the disclosure. Early disclosure of abuse could help end the abuse, prevent repeated victimization, protect other children, enable psychological interventions, and make it possible to hold the perpetrator(s) accountable. Objective: Spotlighting the societal responsibility regarding CSA, the current study was designed to examine how adult survivors of CSA perceived and experienced various actors' responses to the CSA, as well as the impact of these responses on their lives. Methods: Qualitative inductive thematic analysis was carried out on 35 written narratives of adult survivors of CSA submitted to the Israeli Independent Public Inquiry into CSA. Results: The results pointed to several actors responding to CSA, and delved into the perceived responses of the parents, preparators, professionals and media. Conclusion: The discussion emphasizes the crucial role of social responses to CSA, while addressing the various actors and their dynamics. The journey to justice through the inquiry process is being challenged throughout the social discourse highlighted in the current study. There is an urgent need to provide public platforms for survivors to share their testimonies to mitigate the stigmatization of CSA, which will hopefully promote more just societies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105955
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Volume135
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2023

Keywords

  • Independent inquiry
  • Media
  • Parents
  • Perpetrators
  • Professionals
  • Reframing
  • Social construction of abuse
  • Social response to CSA
  • Transitional justice

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