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NCJ Number: 156136 Find in a Library
Title: Whatever Happened on the Way to Counselling? Hurdles in the Interagency Environment
Journal: Child Abuse and Neglect  Volume:19  Issue:7  Dated:(July 1995)  Pages:801-809
Author(s): C Humphreys
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 9
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This research was designed to explore the path taken by 155 children who composed every case of substantiated child sexual abuse in four Department of Community Service Centers in New South Wales, Australia, over a 6-month period (January 1992-June 1992).
Abstract: The pathway to counseling for the child was one aspect of the research and was identified through a questionnaire completed by the statutory worker and then added to by the counseling agency/team to which the child was referred. Semi-structured interviews or focus groups were also held with 27 statutory workers, 21 counselors, and 17 nonoffending parents to identify issues they viewed as contributing to the outcomes for each child following the investigation. An analysis of child-protection trends at a State level over a 5-year period was also undertaken to set the broader context for practice. In identifying the barriers to counseling for child sexual abuse victims, one was found to be the statutory worker's assessment of the child's need for counseling. In spite of a guideline that confirmed victims of child sexual abuse should be referred for counseling, 34 children were not referred. The statutory worker's assessment of the child's ability to benefit from counseling was the most significant factor in this process. An additional barrier was the "loss" of referrals. When the cases were traced, it was clear that there was no single factor, but rather a number of complex issues that culminated in a child becoming "lost in the system." The process was made more difficult by long waiting lists at counseling agencies in areas with high notification rates for child sexual assault. The immediacy of referral from statutory worker to counselor was lost and made referral indirect and therefore more difficult to monitor. The article draws a number of implications for professional practice regarding the provision of counseling for victims of child sexual abuse.
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Australia; Child Sexual Abuse; Victim counseling; Victim services; Victims in foreign countries
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