n Child Abuse Research in South Africa - A protocol for the empowerment of non-offending parents to report child sexual abuse




The prevalence of child sexual abuse in South Africa is very high, and even though the reporting of child sexual abuse is legislated by the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act (32 of 2007), the rate at which sexual abuse is reported is alarmingly low. Based on experiences obtained in private practice, it is the researcher's opinion that many parents are concerned about the possibility of their child being abused, or have knowledge that their child is being sexually abused, but fail to report it. This article focuses on these parents' experiences of this devastating process in order to explore and describe an appropriate protocol that will empower non-offending parents to report child sexual abuse.

To achieve the abovementioned objectives, a qualitative research design through the utilization of case studies was employed. Ten interviews and a focus group were conducted during which an interview schedule focussing on the parents' reactions, perceived support, and experiences of reporting was explored. Ethical considerations were included during this process. After this data was analysed, it was compared with applicable literature and a proposed protocol was formulated. This proposed protocol can be used by health professionals to empower parents to report and will contribute to the intervention strategies in forensic investigations.


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