Thursday, March 31, 2016

Lessons Learned: Conducting Research with Victims Portrayed in Sexual Abuse Images and Their Parents

Victims portrayed in sexual abuse images may be resistant to participate in research because of embarrassment or shame due to the sensitive nature and potential permanency of images. No studies we are aware of explore reactions to participating in research after this type of crime. 

Telephone interviews were conducted with convenience samples of parents (n= 46) and adolescents who were victims of child sexual abuse (n= 11; some of whom were portrayed in sexual abuse images), and online surveys were completed by adult survivors depicted in abuse images (N= 133). 
  • The first lesson was that few agencies tracked this type of crime. This lack of tracking raises the question as to what types of data should be collected and tracked as part of an investigation. 
  • The second lesson was that few victims at the two participating agencies had been portrayed in sexual abuse images (4%-5%). 
  • The third lesson was that once possible cases were identified, we found relatively high percentages of consent to contact and interview completions. 
    • This implies that researchers and service providers should not be hesitant about conducting research after an investigation of child sexual abuse. 
  • The fourth lesson was that the vast majority of participants reported not being upset by the questions. 
We hope that the data presented here will encourage agencies to reconsider the types of data being tracked and will encourage researchers to conduct in-depth research with populations that are often difficult to reach to continue improving the professional response to child victimization.

Purchase full article at:

  • 1University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, USA
  • 2University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, USA.
  • 3National Children's Alliance, Washington, DC, USA.
  • 4National Center for Victims of Crimes, Washington, DC, USA.
  • 5Kaiser Permanente, Portland, OR, USA.
  • 6The Harris County Children's Assessment Center, Houston, TX, USA. 
  •  2016 Mar 27. pii: 0886260516640545

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