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Non-supportive disclosure in child sexual abuse.

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Confidants' non supportive reactions to disclosure in child sexual abuse constitutes an extensive and significant problem and is associated with a variety of negative consequences: (a) Victims do not receive adequate support or intervention and are left vulnerable to further victimization, (b) non-supportive intra-familial confidants are at greater risk of having their children removed, and (c) the justice system is rendered ineffective by the associated lack of police reporting. This study examined the extent of non-supportive disclosure and the factors associated with such reactions in a sample of 856 cases of child sexual abuse (796 girls and 60 boys) reported in the North Durban policing area of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa) in the period January 2001 to December 2003. Of the various agents identified as having provided non-supportive reactions, three categories of non-supportive confidants emerged: namely family members, professional persons, and community members in their respective order of significance. Hierarchical cluster analysis of disclosure variables identified two broad homogenous groups (clusters) of cases of non-'supportive disclosure ("Incestuous Abuse Disclosed Within the Family", and "Extra-familial Abuse Disclosed Outside of the Family"). Binary logistic regression analysis indicated that cluster membership was meaningfully predicted by the three measure of consanguinity included in the analysis, but not significantly related to other abuse related variables. Furthermore, in cases of extra-familial abuse, nonsupportive disclosure was significantly more likely when (a) victims were below the age of twelve years, (b) no violence was used by the offender, and (c) the confidant was not related to the victim. The implications of the findings for secondary prevention and for future research are discussed in detail in this article.


Thesis (M.Soc.Sc.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, 2005.


Theses--Psychology., Child sexual abuse., Child sexual abuse--Prevention., Child sexual abuse--South Africa.