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Disclosure of physical, emotional and sexual child abuse, help-seeking and access to abuse response services in two South African Provinces

Meinck, F; Cluver, L; Loening-Voysey, H; Bray, R; Doubt, J; Casale, M; Sherr, L; (2017) Disclosure of physical, emotional and sexual child abuse, help-seeking and access to abuse response services in two South African Provinces. Psychology, Health & Medicine , 22 (1) 10.1080/13548506.2016.1271950. Green open access

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Abstract

Physical, emotional and sexual child abuse are major problems in South Africa. This study investigates whether children know about post-abuse services, if they disclose and seek services, and what the outcomes of help-seeking behaviour are. It examines factors associated with request and receipt of services. Confidential self-report questionnaires were completed by adolescents aged 10-17 (n = 3515) in South Africa. Prevalence of frequent (>weekly) physical abuse was 7.4%, frequent emotional abuse 12.4%, and lifetime contact sexual abuse 9.0%. 98.6% could name one suitable confidante or formal service for abuse disclosure, but only 20.0% of abuse victims disclosed. Of those, 72% received help. Most common confidantes were caregivers and teachers. Of all abuse victims, 85.6% did not receive help due to non-disclosure or inactivity of services, and 14.4% received help: 4.9% from formal health or social services and 7.1% through community vigilante action. Emotional abuse, sexual abuse and female gender were associated with higher odds of help-seeking. While children in South Africa showed high knowledge of available services, access to and receipt of formal services among abused children was low. Notably fewer children received help from formal services than through community vigilante action. Urgent action is needed to improve service access for child abuse victims.

Type: Article
Title: Disclosure of physical, emotional and sexual child abuse, help-seeking and access to abuse response services in two South African Provinces
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/13548506.2016.1271950
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13548506.2016.1271950
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Keywords: Child abuse, children, emotional abuse, physical abuse, service access, sexual abuse, victim services
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health > Infection and Population Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1538515
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