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Helping Children to Tell About Sexual Abuse

Helping Children to Tell About Sexual Abuse

Rosaleen McElvaney


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Book Details


Children need to be able to disclose their experiences of sexual abuse in order to stop the abuse and get help.

Practical and accessible, this book offers guidance on how professionals can identify potential abuse cases and create safe opportunities for children to talk about sexual abuse. The book explores challenges in facilitating and responding to disclosures of abuse, such as: how to recognise the signs, ask the right questions and react to a disclosure. It also draws on research carried out with children who have experienced sexual abuse, to convey how experiences of disclosure feel to those making them and what informs a decision to tell or not tell.

Helping Children to Tell About Sexual Abuse will be suitable for any professional working with a child or young person, including social workers, psychologists, child/family therapists, health care workers, school nurses, school counsellors, health visitors, police and youth workers.

For too long we have failed to recognise the early warning signs that a child may be sexually abused, placing the onus on the child to 'disclose' their experience of sexual abuse, rather than on the practitioner to recognise the signs that the abuse is occurring. This book helps us to challenge these failures, to better understand the nature of child sexual abuse and to help children explain what has happened to them. It is essential reading for all those working to protect children from sexual abuse.
Jenny Pearce, Professor of Young People and Public Policy, University of Bedfordshire
Rosaleen McElvaney is a clinical psychologist who has worked in the public health services in Ireland for many years, primarily in services for children or adults who have experienced sexual abuse. She has served on the boards of Crime Victims Helpline, the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland and One in Four. She is currently a lecturer in psychotherapy at Dublin City University and lives in Dublin, Ireland.
This highly accessible and practical book not only focuses on enhancing awareness of CSA, but most importantly how to facilitate conversations with children to help them disclose and talk about abuse, and how to respond effectively. Key messages at the end of each chapter and the focus on personal qualities of professionals that help promote trust in children that have been betrayed, are invaluable in helping all those working with children and young people to provide a non-judgemental and respectful environment in which children can break the silence, secrecy and shame of abuse. This book is a welcome addition to understanding CSA and an indispensable tool for all those working with children and who are committed to giving them a voice.
Christiane Sanderson, Author of 'Counselling Skills for Working with Shame' and 'Counselling Skills for Working with Trauma'

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Helping Children to Tell About Sexual Abuse - Guidance for Helpers by Rosaleen McElvaney 3
Acknowledgements 6
Chapter 1 - Introduction 7
Chapter 2 - Child Sexual Abuse and Its Impact 18
Chapter 3 - Containing the Secret: What We Know About Child Sexual Abuse Disclosure 36
Chapter 4 - Believing Children 54
Chapter 5 - Recognizing the Signs 74
Chapter 6 - Asking Questions 87
Chapter 7 - Understanding \nSelf-Blame and Shame 102
Chapter 8 - Helping Friends to Tell 117
Chapter 9 - After First Disclosure 129
References 147
Index 155
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