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Help for children after child sexual abuse: using a qualitative approach to design and test therapeutic interventions that may include non-offending parents

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Publication details

JournalQualitative Social Work
DatePublished - Jul 2012
Issue number4
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)362-378
Original languageEnglish


This article is about the use of qualitative methods in the design, development and the study of new ways of intervening to help children who have been sexually abused. Specifically, it is about ways of including non-abusing parents and carers constructively in the intervention; about the complex, triangular relationships between social workers, children and parents that result; and about the contribution of qualitative methods to the development and testing of such interventions. The difficulties of defining a precise model of intervention are discussed. But despite these difficulties, by using qualitative research methods it has been possible to describe causal processes leading to outcomes, and to identify factors that are indicative, or counter-indicative, of constructive parental involvement in children’s therapy. It has been possible to describe the dynamics of successful helping processes, and to identify aspects of professional expertise and ways in which service users are active in shaping interventions.

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