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Female survivors’ perceptions of lifelong impact on their education of child abuse suffered in orphanages

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Many children raised in orphanages suffered ongoing child abuse and neglect including sexual abuse, and nearly all were denied an adequate education. This paper explores adult females’ perceptions of the impacts on their education of child sexual abuse they suffered while living in orphanages in Australia. In-depth qualitative and anonymous one-on-one interviews were undertaken with 10 female volunteers. Their narrative quotes emanate from questions asked about their experiences and perceptions of child sexual abuse, and its impacts on their educational achievement, educational development and educational opportunity. Of these volunteer females, only two had completed primary school, none had completed more than two years of secondary school, and none had undertaken any tertiary education. All had perceived child sexual abuse, in particular, to have had overwhelmingly negative impacts on their lifelong, educational achievement, educational development and educational opportunity. These impacts have had detrimental inter-generational consequences upon their own children. These adult females perceived child sexual abuse to be a major factor in their very poor, life-long educational development, achievement and opportunities, with intergenerational consequences for their self-esteem, wellbeing and success. Implications for practice are that children at risk should receive specialised teaching, educational support and counselling; adults with deficient education need help with learning processes such as dynamic learning, to help achieve active and inclusive citizenship.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Faculty of Education, Griffith University Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

Publication date: 01 April 2012

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