Creating a Safe Place: Helping Children and Families Recover from Child Sexual Abuse

Creating a Safe Place: Helping Children and Families Recover from Child Sexual Abuse

Creating a Safe Place: Helping Children and Families Recover from Child Sexual Abuse

Creating a Safe Place: Helping Children and Families Recover from Child Sexual Abuse


"Highlighting the importance of a safe place as the foundation of the healing process for those affected by child sexual abuse, this practical book details the factors that contribute to a secure therapeutic climate where recovery can take place. The Children and Families Project draws on the perspectives of those who have been abused to show how a person-centred approach to establishing a sense of safety can enable children and their relatives to regain trust and self-esteem. The book demonstrates how therapeutic services can be improved through feedback from service users and how creative activities such as storytelling, painting and drama can encourage the expression of experiences. The need for preventative work is also addressed. Of particular relevance to professionals is the exploration of some of the difficulties that may be encountered in this field of work, such as the tension that can arise between therapeutic work and the child protection system. This is an invaluable resource for anyone working with abused children and adults." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


Child sexual abuse is an emotive subject. As recently as the 1980s allegations of sexual abuse were met with disbelief and denial. In this decade the sheer volume of allegations has generated widespread media coverage. Albeit reluctantly, society has been forced to acknowledge that adults sexually abuse children. Moreover, abusers are not the 'dirty old men in raincoats' of our myths. They may well be respectable figures in society who are in positions of trust and responsibility over children. Or abusers may themselves be young people. Even harder to contemplate is the growing realisation that some sexual abusers are women who abuse their own or other children. Sexual abuse betrays not only the child's trust. Society as a whole is also betrayed.

Despite the rising statistics and increased media coverage, child sexual abuse remains enigmatic, unpalatable, and problematic. It seems easier to concentrate on the offenders and what to do with them, than to focus on the disturbing world of the abused child. Sexual abuse is a shattering experience. It shatters children's lives. It shatters families. The child's parents, siblings and grandparents may also be paralysed by hurt, betrayal and confusion. Close relatives frequently are the forgotten victims of sexual abuse.

Sexual abuse scandals continue to make the headlines. The debate over offenders grows ever more virulent. Yet conviction rates remain depressingly low. Child sexual abuse by its very nature is a secretive matter, enveloped in illusion, mystery, denial and lack of evidence. At the same time resources to help victims and their families are inadequate to meet the need. When therapeutic provision is available, on occasions a certain mystique about the work may arise.

In this book we hope to disperse some of this mystery surrounding child sexual abuse and therapeutic work. The Children and Families Project has now been working in this field for over seven years. Immersed as we are in the grey, murky waters of sexual abuse our understanding of the abuse process and its impact has grown. Through listening to the stories of the people who use our service we . . .

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