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A hidden population: understanding the needs of sexually abused and abusing children in substitute care

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Abstract:

Despite high levels of concern among professionals about how best to manage sexually abused children looked after in public care, there has been little research on this subject. Sue Pollock and Elaine Farmer report the findings from a study of a sample of such children which shows that, as a group, they share characteristics that make them significantly more vulnerable to sexual risks and to emotional, educational and behavioural difficulties than their non-sexually abused counterparts in residential and foster care. However, at the point of placement there are rarely markers to alert carers to the multiple deprivations and adversities in their backgrounds and it is therefore likely that this group of children will be denied the specific targeted therapeutic, educational and family support that they need. This study highlights the importance of good record-keeping, thorough assessments of need at the point of placement, effective communication between social workers and caregivers and joint planning between social services, health and education to implement comprehensive packages of care.

Keywords: ADVERSITIES; ASSESSMENT; SEXUAL ABUSE; SUBSTITUTE CARE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2005

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