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Children's disclosure of physical abuse – the process of disclosing and the responses from social welfare workers
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4416-1223
Linköping university, Sweden.
2019 (English)In: Child care in practice, ISSN 1357-5279Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Children experiencing physical abuse by their parents are left with several difficult decisions. The present study aims at exploring the process of disclosing the abuse and the responses from social welfare workers from a child perspective, in a Swedish context. Data was obtained from in depth interviews with 15 children with a history of child physical abuse. A qualitative content analysis was conducted in order to capture the children's experiences. Disclosing abuse was described as a process including several judgements from the child. Children describe their everyday life before disclosing, with an escalation of violence making them think they have to act in order to prevent further abuse. They made several well-thought decisions and selected a trustworthy recipient. The decision to disclose was often made out of fear, but the fear could remain after the disclosure, not knowing what will happen next. Children seem to lose control over how their abuse narratives are handled after disclosing. The recipient and social welfare worker was acting but not informing or consulting the child. Children emphasize the importance of trustworthy and competent adults when disclosing physical abuse. Ethical issues and implications for practice are discussed.

Practitioner messages

  • Disclosure is to be seen as a process, including several judgements by the child.

  • Children emphasize the importance of trustworthy and competent adults when choosing to disclose physical abuse.

  • Social welfare workers should inform and include children in their decision making.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2019.
Keywords [en]
Child physical abuse, disclosure, participation, child welfare service
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Sciences, Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-82395DOI: 10.1080/13575279.2018.1555139OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-82395DiVA, id: diva2:1313176
Available from: 2019-05-02 Created: 2019-05-02 Last updated: 2019-06-12
In thesis
1. Putting words to child physical abuse: Possible consequences, the process of disclosure, and effects of treatment. From children’s perspectives
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Putting words to child physical abuse: Possible consequences, the process of disclosure, and effects of treatment. From children’s perspectives
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Aim: The overall aim of the thesis is to explore the experiences and possible consequences concerning reported health and relations between a parent perpetrator of physical child abuse and the children who are victims of the parental physical abuse, the children’s thoughts when disclosing the abuse, and the impact of an intervention designed to support these children in a Swedish context – Combined Parent Child Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CPC-CBT). Methods: This thesis has a mix-method design. Study I and IV used different self-assessment scales, and the outcomes were analysed using descriptive statistics, paired-samples t test, independent t test, ANOVA, Pearson correlations, and hierarchical linear regression. Study II and III consisted of interviews with 15 (Study II) and 20 (Study III) children, respectively. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using qualitative content analysis. Results: The results suggest that experiencing child physical abuse affects the relationship between a parent and a child as well as the child’s wellbeing in several ways. However, the results also suggest that participating in the CPC-CBT intervention could decrease parents’ use of violence and increase the child’s wellbeing. In addition, the results suggest that trust and participation influence whether a child discloses abuse and contributes to the success of treatment. Conclusion: The CPC-CBT could be seen as a successful turning point for the participating children, shifting from one trajectory (living in fear of violence) to another (living without fear). Furthermore, when children disclose to adults about their physical abuse, it is important that the adults recognise the children’s participatory rights and strive to earn their trust.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Växjö: Linnaeus University Press, 2019
Series
Linnaeus University Dissertations ; 351/2019
Keywords
child physical abuse, disclosure, participation, CPC-CBT, intervention
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-82396 (URN)978-91-88898-57-9 (ISBN)978-91-88898-58-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2019-05-24, IKEA, Hus N, Växjö, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-05-03 Created: 2019-05-02 Last updated: 2019-07-30Bibliographically approved

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Thulin, JohannaKjellgren, Cecilia

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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  • ieee
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Output format
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