Suspicion and Disclosure: Initial Professional Responses
Child sexual abuse characteristically faces social workers with a crisis, in which either a child has disclosed the existence of abuse, or someone is expressing concerns over what she or he perceives as serious indications of sexual abuse. In this chapter, this crisis is placed in a statutory, relational/emotional and temporal context. We define the aims of intervention, consider some basic emotional and relationship issues, describe the pathways leading to disclosure, and provide guidelines for interpreting suspicions and alerting signs. In Chapter 5, we go on to describe the information-gathering and assessment process, including details of the formal interview, medical examination, initial family assessment and child-protection conference.
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