Adult survivors of child sexual abuse bibliography

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Speaking through the silence: adult female survivors of intra-familial child sexual assault envisioning justice and resistance in Australian criminal justice systems

"This thesis explored the experiences of adult survivors of intra-familial child sexual assault and the experiences of victimisation, and perceptions of justice, that influence their decision making behaviour as adults. Utilising feminist epistemology and social constructivism, this research examined the lived experiences of adult survivors of intra-familial CSA, as well the views of expert stakeholders who work in a legal, advocacy or welfare capacity with survivors. Twenty two adult survivors completed questionnaires, and fifteen survivors participated in narrative interviews. Nine stakeholder groups also answered semi-structured interviews. Results from the research established the nexus between early experiences of long term intra-familial CSA and bystander denial within the family ... These findings highlighted the compatibility of survivors' justice needs with the development of specialist courts, with a few caveats. In order for specialist courts to address survivors' justice visions, a principle of non-adversarialism must be explored, with an incorporation of restorative justice values."--Author abstract.

Child sexual abuse : summary of adult survivors' therapeutic needs.
Quadara A, Higgins D, Nagy V, Lykhina A and Wall L
CFCA Connect 26 Aug 2013

Written for practitioners, this article briefly outlines what is known about: child sexual abuse, effective interventions, and the elements of a comprehensive service system. Links to further resources on these aspects are included.

Civil litigation
Australia. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
Sydney, NSW : Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, 2013.

All states and territories provide a system of out of home care for children who are unable to live at home. As part of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, this paper invites submissions from institutions and the general public on possible reforms to improve the effectiveness of the civil litigation systems, regarding resolving claims for damages for child sexual abuse in institutional contexts. Submissions should be made by 17 March 2014.

Adults as grown-up children - a perspective on children's rights.
Ross H
Australian Journal of Family Law v. 27 no. 3 Nov 2013: 235-261

This article examines the implications for children's civil law rights of the idea that adults are grown-up children. Individuals exist in a developmental continuum, conditioned by experiences they have undergone in childhood. It is maintained that when limitation laws bar adult claimants from pursuing claims in civil law in respect of wrongs committed against them when they were children, what are being forestalled are claims in respect of violated children's rights. In many jurisdictions, including Scotland, limitation laws do not properly address the special difficulties faced by adults as grown-up children and the disabilities, incapacities and vulnerabilities that beset adults as a consequence of abusive childhood experiences. Adult survivors of childhood abuse suffer from incapacities that often prevent them from pursuing civil law redress in time to avoid the guillotining effect of limitation laws. Ultimately, it is argued that in the context of adult survivors' claims in respect of childhood abuse such laws are an unjust impediment to the proper exercise and enforcement of rights that accrued in childhood.

Modelling the relationship between child abuse and long-term health care costs and wellbeing : results from an Australian community-based survey.
Reeve R and van Gool K
Economic Record v. 89 no. 286 Sep 2013: 300-318

This article looks at the long-term economic and welfare costs of childhood abuse. Using data from the 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing, the article investigates the association between types of childhood abuse, number of health conditions, and health care spending. Health conditions include mental illness, physical illness, attempted suicide, and drug and alcohol abuse.

Childhood sexual abuse and adult developmental outcomes : findings from a 30-year longitudinal study in New Zealand.
Fergusson D, McLeod G and Horwood L
Child Abuse and Neglect v. 37 no. 9 Sep 2013: 664-674

Childhood sexual abuse is associated with a range of adverse outcomes in adulthood. This article adds to the research evidence with a study of a wide range of outcomes over a protracted period of time. Using data from the Christchurch Health and Development Study, a 30-year longitudinal study from New Zealand, it compares reported child sexual abuse and subsequent mental health, wellbeing, relationship quality, self esteem, sexual risk taking, unplanned pregnancies, physical health and use of health services, school completion, income, and welfare dependence to age 30.

Whispering to horses : childhood sexual abuse, depression and the efficacy of equine facilitated therapy.
Signal T, Taylor N, Botros H, Prentice K and Lazarus K
Sexual Abuse in Australia and New Zealand v. 5 no. 1 Jun 2013: 24-32

Animal Assisted Therapy has been found to be a useful addition in therapeutic treatment plans. In Queensland, one sexual assault referral centre is currently using horses - Equine Facilitated Therapy - in its child sexual abuse therapeutic program. This article evaluates the impact of this therapy on depressive symptoms among a group of child, adolescent, and adult survivors of child sexual abuse. Participants included 15 children (aged 8-11 years), 15 adolescents (aged 12-17 years) and 14 adults (aged 19-50 years) with 10 of the 44 participants identifying as Indigenous Australians.

Stories of strength: report on child sexual abuse & community recommendations for prevention (PDF)
Peace Over Violence (Organization), 1in6 Inc.
Los Angeles, Calif. : Peace Over Violence, 2013

This report presents recommendations for addressing child sexual abuse prevention in Los Angeles, United States. It draws upon research with traditionally excluded or marginalized groups, including deaf survivors, female gang-affiliated survivors, and male survivors.

The long-term effects of child sexual abuse
Cashmore J and Shackel R
Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2013.

This paper reviews recent Australian and international research on the long-term effects of child sexual abuse. Information is presented on what is known about the impact on mental health, behaviour problems, suicide, risk taking, personal relationships, criminality, and physical health, as well as gender differences in outcomes and the methodological issues posed by this area of research. This paper aims to assist practitioners and policy-makers in understanding the significant findings from this large and sometimes complex body of research.

Bridges to adulthood: understanding the lifelong influence of men's childhood experiences of violence : analyzing data from the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) (PDF)
Contreras J
Washington, DC : International Center for Research on Women ; Rio de Janeiro : Instituto Promundo, 2012.

This report explores the prevalence and nature of violence against boys in low- and middle-income countries, and its impacts into adulthood. Data is taken from the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) for six countries: Brazil, Chile, Croatia, India, Mexico and Rwanda. Information is presented for: childhood exposure to violence, including domestic violence, child sexual abuse, and bullying; protective factors; and the influence of childhood violence on adult attitudes to gender and gender roles, adulthood criminal behaviour and paying for sex, relationship dynamics and parenting, men's health, and intimate partner violence. The implications for action are also discussed.

The role of ritual in the organised abuse of children.
Salter M
Child Abuse Review v. 21 no. 6 Nov/Dec 2012: 440-451

This article presents a theoretical model of ritual abuse, where ritual is used as a strategy that enjoins the participation of victims in organised abuse whilst simultaneously legitimising the abuse for the perpetrators. The theory is developed through the case studies with 16 adults in New South Wales who experienced organised ritual abuse in childhood.

Addressing women's victimisation histories in custodial settings
Stathopoulos M, Quadara A, Fileborn B and Clark H
Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2012.

This paper reviews the research literature on female prisoners who are also victim/survivors of sexual violence. It begins by exploring how sexual abuse in childhood or adulthood affects the experiences of female offenders in a prison setting, then discusses challenges in addressing these women's needs, as well as trauma-informed and gender-responsive approaches to care and practice.

Improving policy and practice responses for men sexually abused in childhood
Foster G, Boyd C and O'Leary P
Melbourne : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2012.

This paper explores how best to improve policy and practice for male victim/survivors of childhood sexual abuse. It reviews the prevalence and effects of male childhood sexual abuse, barriers to disclosure, and men's preferred methods of coping, before discussing service development strategies. The authors suggest that conceptualising and responding to male sexual victimisation as a public health issue will help to improve community responses to men and their families.

Child sexual abuse, masculinity and fatherhood.
Price-Robertson R
Journal of Family Studies v. 18 no. 2/3 Dec 2012: 130-142

This paper reviews the research on a largely hidden issue: the ways in which a history of child sexual abuse can influence men's perceptions and experience of fatherhood. Although no research that specifically investigated this topic was found, the current review identified a small number of qualitative studies involving male victim/survivors of child sexual abuse in which the area of fatherhood was covered. Key themes, such as male victim/survivors' fears that they may abuse their children or their tendency to be overprotective parents, are discussed with reference to relevant sociological, psychological and gender theory. Also discussed are the contemporary social and political contexts that shape the ways in which gender and sexual violence are understood and constructed, and which in turn contribute to this issue remaining excluded from public, academic and policy discourses. Finally, future research directions are outlined.

Time to talk about male survivors of sexual abuse.
Price-Robertson R
The Conversation 24 Sep 2012

This article highlights that we need to talk with and about male survivors of child sexual abuse, and we need to do it in ways that give men the space, support and encouragement to open up about their problems. The article stems from a research paper recently published by the author, 'Fathers with a history of child sexual abuse: new findings for policy and practice'.

Child sexual abuse and subsequent offending and victimisation: a 45 year follow-up study
Ogloff J, Cutajar M, Mann E and Mullen P
Canberra, ACT : Australian Institute of Criminology, 2012.

"Up to 30 percent of children experience childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and whether this impacts re-victimisation or offending as an adult has been the subject of numerous studies. This study investigates whether a disproportionate number of CSA victims subsequently perpetrate offences and experience future victimisation compared with people who have not been sexually abused. In a sample of 2,759 CSA victims who were abused between 1964 and 1995, it was found CSA victims were almost five times more likely than the general population to be charged with any offence than their non-abused counterparts, with strongest associations found for sexual and violent offences. CSA victims were also more likely to have been victims of crime, particularly crimes of a sexual or violent nature."--Foreword.

Fathers with a history of child sexual abuse: new findings for policy and practice
Price-Robertson R
Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2012.

There is little research available on how a history of child sexual abuse influences men's perceptions and experience of fatherhood. Based on a separately published review of the literature, this paper outlines the key themes that emerge in male victim/survivor studies on fatherhood. The paper also discusses why this topic is often overlooked by researchers and policy-makers, and calls for further research in this area.

Mothers with a history of childhood sexual abuse: key issues for child protection practice and policy
Tarczon C
Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2012.

This paper reviews the impact of childhood sexual abuse on a woman's parenting capacity in adulthood. It summarises the research literature on the issues of mental health, intimate partner violence, substance abuse and homelessness on parenting and motherhood - highlighting how a mother's history of childhood sexual abuse often underpins many of the complex and overlapping issues that lead to compromised parenting capacities. In conclusion, the paper notes how a trauma-informed perspective can improve system responses to women and their children.

Child sexual abuse and later-life economic consequences: a comparative analysis of the role of parent-child shared time in selected countries (PDF)
Barrett A and Kamiya Y
Bonn, Germany : IZA, 2012.

"The impact of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) on later-life health outcomes has been studied extensively and links with depression, anxiety and self-harm have been established. However, there has been relatively little research undertaken on the possible impact of CSA on later-life economic outcomes. Here, we explore whether older men who report having experienced CSA have weaker labour force attachment and lower incomes compared to other men. We use data from the first wave of the new Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) which is a nationally-representative survey of people aged 50 and over. We find that male victims of CSA are almost four times more likely to be out of the labour force due to sickness and disability. They also spent a higher proportion of their potential working lives out of the labour force for these reasons and have lower incomes. These effects remain even when we control for mental health difficulties and negative health behaviors. Among the policy implications are the need to be more aware of the complex effects of CSA when designing labour market activation strategies such as training for the unemployed. The results are also relevant in the legal context where compensation awards are determined."--Author abstract.

Organised sexual abuse
Salter M
Milton Park England : Routledge, 2012, c2013.

This book examines the sexual abuse of children by groups or networks. It reviews the debates and controversy surrounding organised abuse and examines case studies of 21 adults in Australia who experienced organised sexual abuse in childhood. Themes discussed include: the relationship between sexual abuse and organised abuse; debates on allegations and recovered memories; police responses; the contexts in which sexually abusive groups develop and operate; the role of religion and ritual in subcultures of organised sexual abuse; and the experience of adult and child victims in the criminal justice system and health system.

The effect of childhood sexual abuse on psychosexual functioning during adulthood.
Easton S, Coohey C, O'Leary P, Zhang Y and Hua L
Journal of Family Violence v. 26 no. 1 Jan 2011: 41-50

Research suggests that adults who were sexually abused in childhood are at higher risk for sexual dysfunction than adults who were not sexually abused. This article explores this further by investigating whether characteristics of childhood sexual abuse - such as age at first abuse, severity, and disclosure - influence the emotional, behavioral and evaluative dimensions of psychosexual functioning in adulthood. The article draws upon a survey of 165 adult survivors of childhood abuse in Victoria.

Sharing the un-shareable: a resource for women recovering from child sexual abuse (PDF)
Boxwell R and Blyth J
Parramatta : Education Centre Against Violence, 2011.

This resource book provides information and support for women recovering from childhood sexual abuse. Illustrated with the stories of survivors, it features material on abusers and their tactics, reporting abuse, the long-term impact of abuse, strategies for helping with daily reactions and ongoing recovery, daily self care, and finding support services in New South Wales. The resource book also includes advice for family and friends supporting someone recovering from childhood abuse.

Sexual, physical, verbal/emotional abuse and unexplained chest pain.
Eslick G, Koloski N and Talley N
Child Abuse and Neglect v. 35 no. 8 Aug 2011: 601-605

This article investigated whether there is a relationship between childhood sexual, physical, emotional abuse and unexplained chest pain in adulthood. Eighty-seven adult participants from an earlier population study were studied for unexplained chest pain.

Disclosure of child sexual abuse as a life-long process : implications for health professionals.
Hunter S
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy v. 32 no. 2 Jun 2011: 159-172

One of the aims of this research project was to develop a fuller understanding of the process of disclosure of child sexual abuse. Face-to-face in-depth interviews were conducted with 22 men and women aged 25 to 70 years old, who had an early sexual experience at the age of 15 or under with someone of 18 or over. Narrative inquiry methodology was used and data was analysed using Rosenthal and Fischer-Rosenthal's (2004) process of data analysis. Disclosure can be concep tualised as a complex and life-long process, and most participants did not make a selective disclosure until adulthood. The findings extend Alaggia's (2004) model of disclosure to include the life stage and the person to whom the disclosure is being made. The main barriers to disclosure and possible gender differences are discussed. Family therapists need to manage the challenges inherent in disclosure of child sexual abuse at any age.

Working with male victim/survivors of sexual assault (Living Well)
Stathopoulos M
Melbourne, Vic : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2011.

The Living Well service, based in Queensland, is dedicated to the provision of a supportive, accessible, respectful, service to men who have experienced child sexual abuse or sexual assault. Mary Stathopoulos, a Research Officer at ACSSA, interviewed Dr Gary Foster, the manager of Living Well, about his insights regarding barriers to disclosure for men, the difficulties faced by individual workers in the field, and the application of feminist principles in providing support for male victim/survivors of sexual assault.

Living well: a guide for men
Boyd C and Foster G
Nundah, Qld. : Living Well, 2011

This resource book for men provides information and support about dealing with the effects of childhood or recent sexual abuse. Part one features advice on living well in day to day life, such as through healthy behaviour and mindfulness techniques. Part two provides more specific information on some of the common issues faced by men dealing with child sexual abuse or adult sexual assault, including shame, anxiety, suicide, drug use, sexuality, relationships, parenting, legal options, and justice.

Evolving narratives about childhood sexual abuse : challenging the dominance of the victim and survivor paradigm.
Hunter S
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy v. 31 no. 2 Jun 2010: 176-190

This research project explored the ongoing process of constructing a narrative, following childhood sexual abuse. Twenty-two men and women aged 25-70 were interviewed about their childhood sexual experiences with adults using narrative inquiry methodology. These experiences occurred in different social and historical contexts, when the theoretical understandings and treatment of the issue of child sexual abuse were significantly different from the present. Many factors made disclosure even more difficult then than it is now including: respect for authority; rigid gender roles; the taboo surrounding sexual issues; lack of supportive adults; and lack of language to describe what was happening. Participants told four differing narratives about their experiences: narratives of silence; narratives of ongoing suffering; narratives of transformation; and narratives of transcendence. These narratives were examined in relation to the changing social and historical context and the current dominance of the victim and survivor paradigm in the child sexual abuse literature.

'What is the justice system willing to offer?' Understanding sexual assault victim/survivors' criminal justice needs.
Clark H
Family Matters no. 85 2010: 28-37

In April 2009, the Australian Government declared a 'zero tolerance' position on violence against women and children, and acknowledged that, 'The Laws must be strong enough to hold perpetrators to account and offer justice and safety for victims and their families'. Indeed, there is increasing emphasis on responding to the needs of victim/survivors of sexual assault within Australian criminal justice systems. This has been demonstrated through myriad procedural and substantive law reforms that have been introduced over the past 40 years. Nonetheless, research continues to demonstrate that prosecution and conviction rates for sexual offences are not increasing, and that criminal justice system procedures are distressing and traumatising for victim/survivors. Understanding what victim/survivors see as justice and what they consider to be fair procedures are key to developing procedures to meet their needs. Drawing on the narratives of 22 victim/survivors of sexual assault, this article identifies what justice means to these victim/survivors and discusses four key aspects that relate to their procedural justice needs - information, validation, voice and control. The article considers how these can be applied to system procedures to promote meaningful and worthwhile justice system responses for victim/survivors of sexual assault.

Suicide and fatal drug overdose in child sexual abuse victims: a historical cohort study.
Cutajar M, Mullen P, Ogloff J, Thomas S, Wells D and Spataro J
Medical Journal of Australia v. 192 no. 4 15 Feb 2010: 184-187

This article investigates the rate of suicide or accidental fatal drug overdose among adults who had been sexually abused as children. The authors conducted a historical cohort study linking the forensic medical records, from 1964 to 1995, for 2,759 children in Victoria who had been recorded as being sexually abused, with coronial records of deaths recorded from 1989 to 2008. This data was compared to the general population. The study found that victims of child sexual assault are at increased risk of suicide, most had had contact with the public mental health system, and half were recorded as being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. The article discusses the findings and the implications for suicide prevention.

The effectiveness of social marketing campaigns : the recent Adult Survivors of Child Abuse 'Father of the Bride' advertisement.
Bromfield L
ACSSA Aware no. 24 2010: 18-19

This article is part of a discussion series focusing on public education media campaigns in the areas of childhood sexual abuse. In the article, the author reflects on the strategy of the recent 'Father of the Bride' media campaign, which was run in 2009 by the advocacy organisation Adult Survivors of Child Abuse (ASCA). The deliberately controversial campaign aimed to use shock tactics to address taboos and stigma surrounding the issues, and to generate discussion. The author considers her personal response to the advert, its intended aims, and concludes that there is a need for more research on strategies for effective social marketing for changing community attitudes.

See more resources on Adult survivors of child sexual abuse in the AIFS library catalogue

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