Learning To Listen: To Young People, Parents, Perpetrators

I dont matildawant to talk about it Its too horrible. But in the end I became so frightened of her I used to start shaking when she came into the room.
So said Matildas teacher, Miss Honey, in Roald Dahls classic childrens book (Dahl and Blake, 1989, p. 198). In a simple childrens story, Dahl poignantly captures just how difcult young people (and adults) nd it to talk about the abuse they experience:
I have found it impossible to talk to anyone about my problems. I couldnt face the embarrassment, and anyway I lack the courage. Any courage I had was knocked out of me when I was young (p. 195).
The reality of that is captured in the rst paper in the latest issue of Child Abuse Review. In a review of research on disclosure of child sexual abuse, Rosaleen McElvaney (2015) highlights both quantitative data on the prevalence of non-disclosure and delays in disclosure, and qualitative data exploring the complexity and individuality of issues around disclosure. McElvaney concludes that signicant numbers of children do not disclose experiences of sexual abuse until adulthood and adult survey results suggest that signicant proportions of adults have never disclosed such abuse (p. 161)

These realities are explored in a number of papers in this issue of Child Abuse Review, originating from the UK, Ireland, Sweden and South Africa.  As well as the issues around disclosure of sexual abuse, the articles consider children and young people’s experiences of physically and emotionally traumatic events; the involvement of families in case reviews; and a particularly helpful paper by Stephanie Holt on the dilemmas and challenges faced by families following separation in the context of domestic violence.
Click here to read the full editorial which, in keeping with our new journal policy, is freely accessible online.