12 March 2018

Non-offending parents as secondary victims of child sexual assault

This research explores the impact of child sexual assault on a sample of 26 non-offending parents, with a particular focus on examining the link between a parent’s thoughts and feelings about the assault and their subsequent support  and assistance to their  victimised child. Parents experienced a wide range of negative emotional responses to their child’s victimisation, and these reactions may have influenced what support the parent was able to provide. Parents particularly reported feelings of anger, sadness and guilt.  They became overprotective and isolated from their children, partners, family, friends and community. The implications of these findings for the treatment and support of parents of victims of child sexual assault is discussed.