Problem of Child Sexual Abuse in Families

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Child sexual abuse is a global problem that knows no limitations. It’s a heinous act that regularly takes place at home and in learning institutions. Majority of the perpetrators are rightly acquainted with the victims. It causes traumatic experiences to the victims that can be long term such as despair, sexual dysfunction and suicide. The intention of this paper is to examine the intra-familiar child sexual abuse and its prevalence, whereby child incest is described, and the literature on it is reviewed. Triggers, various scientific symptoms, factual statistics, support systems for the victims and preventive techniques will also be mentioned. A case instance of a father daughter sexual abuse will bring more insight at the complexity of the undisclosed traumatic experience that happened to two British women. The paper will attempt to emphasize why it is crucial for parents or guardians and the society to take active preventive measures to curb the nightmare of intra-familiar child sexual abuse right under their watch.


What is Intra-familiar child sexual abuse?Intra-familiar child abuse relates to sexual abuse and exploitation of an infant that takes place amongst blood relatives. This occurs through coercion or enticement of the victim sexually. The offenders range from parents, sisters, aunts, uncles, relatives, grandparents,step-mother and father. They are from varying backgrounds and have different personalities.Such predators might be ministers, therapists, coaches, educators, and so forth. Sexual contact can incorporate bodily contact, which is either penetrative or non-penetrative. Non penetration may involve kissing, rubbing of the genitals or oral-genital contact. It may also entail non-contact acts such as access to explicit sexual content material or any form of sexual stimulation and teaching a child in a sexual manner (Matheson 2003) .Many countries around the world regard incest to be a social taboo and, is therefore illegal. Intra familiar child abuse is a grave offense to the victims as they are most vulnerable and the least capable to protect themselves or to speak out.

Intra-familiar child sexual abuse by a family member may be traumatic due to the fact that it entails excessive levels of deception, disgrace and confidentiality. It is a secret trauma to the victim physically and mentally and may result to adverse effects such as identity crisis and suicide.There are numerous unreported instances of infant sexual abuse in the household and, therefore, the suspects are repeat offenders and redress for the little one is never completed. This is because the child victims are afraid to inform someone or may be confused. Incest among a grownup and a child or adolescent is now identified as the most common cases of child sexual abuse and has the greatest potential for injury to the child. However most cases are undisclosed and therefore unreported.

One out of three cases are not reported.(Kelly& Karsna,2017)Majority of the reported perpetrators to the police are men although there are women perpetrators as well. Incest among father and daughter is prevalent and is described as sexual abuse amongst a biological father, adoptive father, stepfather and a surrogate father. Typically a father who engages in incestuous behaviour with his daughter has problems dealing with grownup relationships.

A loss of spousal sexual activity is a frequent preceding factor for intra-familiar child abuse and increased divorce rates that results to visitation rights .Single mothers in new relationships, can unwittingly be placing their children at higher risk for sexual abuse from the men they date. Another trigger of intra-familiar child abuse are households consisting of, stepfamilies, large families, substance abusers and passive based mothers.There is increased risk for sexual abuse to occur .Some examples of physical signs of sexual abuse are : strained sitting, stained or bloody underclothes, bleeding, bruising and itching across the genitals.

The child victim faces life long term challenges characterized by emotional turmoil, diminished self-esteem, impaired interpersonal relationships, and impulsive acting-out behavior. Intra- familiar infant sexual abuse is linked to various effects such as despair, fear, anxiety, anger , substance abuse and hostility. They may experience long-term adverse effects such as self-destructive behavior, sexual maladjustment, congenital issues, loss of life, and developmental and bodily disability. The effects are determined by the persona and length of the abuse, the child’s coping mechanisms, and the resource they acquire. The most damaging adverse cases involve father figures, genital touch, and pressure.

Effective assistance is indispensable to enable disclosure, proper investigation and lawsuits. Therapy is used as a healing tool for the victims though the availability of services remains a challenge. Support from professionals who are honest, inspiring; show care and compassion is more valued by the children victims. (Warrington et al, 2017).Criminal justice interventions is likewise critical in order to achieve best proof interviews mainly in the absence of bodily and other collaborative proof.(Davidson et al, 2012).Court proceedings may additionally traumatize victims and there is need to protect the child victims and ensure the perpetrators are convicted. In addition there is need for child friendly and responsive systems in place to handle intrafamiliar child abuse cases.(Allnock et al, 2015).

Family-centered interventions that focus on the entire family as well as the victim are important because of the distress caused by the ordeal. Victims blame themselves and feel responsible for the sexual abuse and strain in the family after the ordeal.Victims of child abuse must understand it is not their fault. Therapeutic support should also be extended to non offenders in the family.Retaining open communication with children is vital so that you can forestall or curtail child sexual abuse. Children should be taught acceptable forms of affection and what is not acceptable. Children should also be encouraged to report inappropriate unacceptable incidences immediately to their parents or guardians.Parents should protect their children’s rights by reporting perpetrators to law enforcers who inturn should carry out effective investigation.Effective investigation will lead to prosecution and the perpetrators will be convicted.

Case Report

A 54 English businessman raped his two daughters over a duration of 25 years. The girls had been eight and ten years at the time. He used strain to enforce his sexual conduct by means of beatings and threatened the girls of loss of life. The assaults came about everyday and even after they became pregnant. He detested contraceptive pills and forbade them not use them and also threatened them to death if they revealed the situation to anyone. He had seven children from the entire sexual abuse.He managed to carry out this horrifying act to his children for over two decades. He would relocate frequently to avoid suspicion and questions as the two daughters sustained visible injuries. He prohibited the girls from going to school. The victim’s mother was absent at the time as she had left a few years earlier because of domestic violence and she couldn’t bear it any more.

The perpetrator was arrested after the two daughters found strength to go to the police. The perpetrator denied the crimes and his Dna confirmed he was indeed the biological father to the seven children. He received 25 concurrent life sentences and is required to serve fourteen and a half of years in prison. The two women were relieved as justice had been served and he was no longer a threat to the society. However, they acknowledge the sexual trauma has caused a lot of suffering and they are focused on rebuilding their lives. (Hunt& Liz 2008). The Sheffield case has been used by independent inquiries to improve support systems and how the local authorities and medical profession on how to deal with child sexual abuse.


It’s a crippling shame for the victims to keep silent after the abuse due to fear of their abuser, so that they do not get into trouble.Intra- familiar child sexual abuse takes a toll on the victim. A child should have the right to live in peace and should not worry that someone wants to cause harm to them. It’s far indispensable to consider the fact that the abuser is at fault and the victim is not to blame.It’s far critical for the society to make a contribution on shielding children who have no voice and who live in fear and are suffering from this ordeal. Society should be mindful of any strange behavior of the child and identify symptoms that show child abuse inured to protect the children.Child rights activists should also examine cautiously to support all youth around community who are not capable to tell anyone of the problems they encounter.

If the community and parents communicate about the problems they see in children and the family , this may lead to lower intra- familiar child abuse cases. Intra familiar is indeed a global social problem; therefore we should all play an active role to end the issue.The society and family should help the victims through different forms such as individual therapy, rehabilitation centers and support groups for the victims .This is necessary to prevent any problems that may occur in the future and to offer advice to the victims to return back to their normal lives.


Cite this paper

Problem of Child Sexual Abuse in Families. (2021, Jul 17). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/problem-of-child-sexual-abuse-in-families/

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