Child Abuse in the Family Environment

The news headlines have been dominated by stories of child sex abuse for many months now. After the initial Jimmy Saville cases Operation Yewtree has now found Rolf Harris guilty of child sex offences and a possible paedophile ring within the government is now being investigated.

All this news and revelations shows a dramatic shift in how child abuse is being viewed and reported and how attitudes towards victims are changing. Child sexual abuse is no longer something to be hushed up and swept under the carpet, but instead is something that can be dealt with head-on with the perpetrators coming to justice.

However, amongst all this a new report has been published that discusses child sexual abuse within the family setting. This report tackles issues that are prevalent but under-reported in the hope that more help can be given to the victims of child sexual abuse from family members.

The report, It’s a lonely journey’ A Rapid Evidence Assessment on Intrafamilial Child Sexual Abuse, commissioned by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner from Middlesex University, is based on an examination of over 57,000 case studies. The report found that there are alarming omissions in knowledge in this area, including research into the experiences of children and young people, research into prevention of sexual abuse in the family environment, research into how best to support the victims and how certain groups in society, such as disabled children and those from ethnic backgrounds can be affected.

There will be a 2 year enquiry into all these areas, along with other areas such as forced child marriage. The enquiry hopes to discover just how widespread the problem is, what the long term effects on the victims are, the economic consequences and the best ways to prevent child sexual abuse in the family and the best ways to support the victims.

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