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Intergenerational Child Sexual Abuse (CSA)


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Jennifer Parker, Ph.D, LPC
University of South Carolina Upstate

Shauna Galloway-Williams, M.Ed, LPC
Julie Valentine Center

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Intergenerational Child Sexual Abuse (CSA)

  1. 1. Intergenerational Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) Jennifer Parker, Ph.D, LPC USC Upstate Shauna Galloway-Williams, M.Ed, LPC Julie Valentine Center
  2. 2. Objectives  Review current findings on intergenerational sexual abuse  Provide information regarding trauma informed approaches for professionals working with families and children who are victims of CSA
  3. 3. Prevalence  Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) - difficult to determine prevalence  Prior studies in 1999 and 2000 along with crime statistics estimated 1:4 girls and 1:6 boys  Newer reports (D2L) suggest 1 in 10 overall  Most children do not tell  Less is known about the prevalence of intergenerational CSA
  4. 4. Perpetrators of CSA  Most are known to the victim  Most are male  Many perpetrators are juveniles – especially if victim young child  Small % of victims become perpetrators, however many perpetrators were victims of CSA  Mothers not typically perpetrators of CSA  However, aspects of the mother are related to their child’s vulnerability
  5. 5.  Mother  past history  34% - mothers of sexually abused children were CSA victims  psychological problems  depression, trauma symptoms, sociopathic symptoms  substance abuse  violent relationships  has children with different fathers  poor mother-child attachment  lacks effective parenting skills  poor attachment between grandmother and mother of victim and disruption of care Intergenerational Factors
  6. 6. ACE Study  Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE)  One of the largest studies to assess the relationship between child maltreatment and health and well-being in adulthood  Counts number of traumatic experiences reported  Risk for many health problems increases with the number of stressors  In one study as many as 80% of young adults who experienced CA were experiencing some form of psychosocial difficulty
  7. 7. ACE & Risk Factors  Alcoholism and alcohol abuse  Other drug use  Depression  Fetal death  Health-related quality of life  Heart disease  Liver disease  Pulmonary disease (COPD)
  8. 8. ACE & Risk Factors  Risk for intimate partner violence  Multiple sexual partners  Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)  Smoking  Suicide attempts  Unintended pregnancies  Early initiation of smoking  Early initiation of sexual activity  Adolescent pregnancy
  9. 9. Attachment Theory  Enduring relationship between mother and child  Gradually develops early in life  Protection and security are primary components  Child with secure attachment explores their environment but stays close to mom for protection  Internal working model (IWM) develops and becomes the basis for later adult relationships
  10. 10. CA and Attachment  Early trauma disrupts healthy attachment processes  Effects brain development resulting in multiple risks Physical health, learning, social relationships, low self-esteem, poor emotional control  When mom has history she may have inadequate internal representation of healthy interpersonal relationships or of an effective caregiver  This increases risk for poor attachment with her children  Becomes a model for future adult relationships
  11. 11. Secure Attachments  Parental responsiveness to a child’s distress = secure attachment  Healthy attachment leads to emotional well-being and self protection  Healthy attachments can be a buffer and against intergenerational transmission  Important to work with family and build better bonds  Research indicates the attachment relationship endures but can be modified with therapy and positive life experiences
  12. 12. Emotional Intelligence (EI)  Secure attachments builds higher EI  EI associated with positive relationships  Self-awareness  Self-Control  Social awareness  Relationship management  Self-efficacy  Parental self-efficacy is harmed by child maltreatment, adult attachment insecurities, and maternal depression
  13. 13. Letter from a Non Offending Caregiver
  14. 14. Non Offending Caregivers (NOCS)  Understanding NOCs  letter from NOC to DSS (Jess)  Characteristics of NOCS  Boundaries  Parenting style  Relationships
  15. 15. Non Offending Caregivers Needs  Information  Empathetic response  Someone to talk to  Someone to listen to them  To know what happened  To know this happens to other families  To be treated with respect  To know options available regarding custody, placement, treatment and evaluation  Resources
  16. 16. NOC Feelings  Anger  Sadness  Hurt  Loneliness  Numb  Rejected  Fear  Betrayal  Loss of Control  Guilt  Shame  Embarrassment  Jealousy  Anxiety  Depression
  17. 17. NOC Losses  Control (Family, Child, Self)  Relationships  Financial support  Child Care  Home  Employment  Social Support System  Self
  18. 18. Stages of Grief and NOC Response to Disclosure of Abuse Denial Anger Bargaining Depression Acceptance
  19. 19. Denial  Denial of Facts  Denial of Awareness  Denial of Responsibility  Denial of Impact  Denial of Need for Treatment Look at denial of all involved (NOC, Offender, Child, Family, Community)
  20. 20. Anger  Self  Offender  System  Child  Society  God
  21. 21. Bargaining  Minimizing Facts, impact, information  Negotiation Situation, Relationship  Questioning and Second Guessing
  22. 22. Depression  Hopelessness  Despair  Feeling trapped  Numb  Feeling life and world is falling apart  Guilt  Shame  Inadequacy  Vulnerability
  23. 23. Acceptance  Determination  Increased Awareness  Increased Understanding  Growth  Independence  Hope  This will not define my child or my family.
  24. 24. Assessing Protective Factors and Breaking the Cycle  Believes the child  Identifies roles and responsibilities for abuse  Identifies roles and responsibilities for protection  Relationship to the alleged offender  Relationship to victim and siblings  History of abuse and or trauma
  25. 25.  Support System  Stressors  Substance abuse  Medical or Mental Health Problems  Motivation to support (Self, court ordered, etc.)  Understanding of impact of CSA on children  Knows how to protect in the future
  26. 26. Alexander P. C., (2009). Childhood trauma, attachment, and abuse by multiple partners Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy,1(1), 78–88. DiLillo, D., Damashek, A. (2003). Parenting characteristics of women reporting a history of childhood sexual abuse. Child Maltreatment, 8, 319-333. Kim, K., Noll, J.G., Putnam, F.W., & Trickett, P.K. (2007). Psychosocial characteristics of non-offending mothers of sexually abused girls: Findings from a prospective multigenerational study: Child Maltreatment, 12, 338-351. Kwako, L.E., Noll, J.G., Putnam, F.W., &Trickett, P.K. (2010). Childhood sexual abuse and attachment: An intergenerational perspective. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 15, 407-422. Leifer, M., Kilbane, T., & Grossman, G. (2001).A three generational study comparing the families of supportive and unsupportive mothers of sexually abuse children. Child Maltreatment, 6, 353-364. Leifer, M., Kilbane, T., Jacobsen, T., Grossman, G., (2004). A three-generational study of transmission of risk for sexual abuse. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 33, 662-672. Leifer, M., Kilbane, T., & Kalick, S. (2004) Vulnerability or resilience to intergenerational sexual abuse: The role of maternal factors: Child Maltreatment, 9 (1), 78-91. McCloskey, L. A., & Bailey, J. A. (2000). The intergenerational transmission of risk for child sexual abuse. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 15 (10), 1019-1035. Oates, R. K., Tebbutt, J., Swanston, H., Lynch, D. L., & O’Toole, B. I. (1998). Prior childhood sexual abuse in mothers of sexually abused children. Child Abuse & Neglect, 22, (11) 1113–1118. Thomas, P.M., (2003). Protection, dissociation, and internal roles: Modeling and treating the effects of child abuse. Review of General Psychology, 7 (4) 364-380. Townsend, C., Rheingold, A.A., (2013). Estimating a child sexual abuse prevalence rate for practitioners: A review of child sexual abuse prevalence studies. Charleston, S.C., Darkness to Light. Retrieved from