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Disclosure of Child Abuse in Conflict Areas

NCJ Number
Violence Against Women Volume: 11 Issue: 10 Dated: October 2005 Pages: 1263-1291
Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian
Date Published
October 2005
29 pages
This study examined the impact of sociopolitical factors on the help-seeking behavior of sexually abused Palestinian Israeli girls and on the application of child protection laws in Israel.
Research regarding the issues of disclosure of abuse among children in conflict areas shows how a child’s status in society impacts social responses to abuse and protection. The current study explored the application and effects of Israeli social policy on the disclosure behaviors of 28 sexually abused Palestinian Israeli girls, aged 14 to 16 years. Focus group discussions and questionnaires were conducted with 628 girls, followed by interviews with the 28 girls who disclosed histories of abuse. Interviews were also conducted with three social workers, six school counselors, six rape crisis hotline workers, and one administrator. Interviews focused on experiences of sexual abuse and disclosure of sexual abuse, as well as social support and legal interventions to the abuse. Results of contextual analyses indicated that sociopolitical fears and stressors kept girls from disclosing sexual abuse. Main themes emerged of why girls did not disclose sexual abuse, these included preservation of family honor and reputation, fear of public disclosure, and fear of losing family support and love. The discussion focuses on how the issue of disclosure becomes more complex when abused children are members of minority groups. The application of law must take into account the different political, cultural, and gender ideologies that exist in a society. Future research efforts should continue analyzing social and legal policies from a child’s perspective. References


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