Participatory Action Research: Confidentiality and Attitudes of Victimized Young People Unknown to Child Protection Agencies

Laurie Matthew, Ian Barron, Ann Hodson

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    7 Citations (Scopus)
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    This study explores views of young child abuse survivors, whose abuse was unknown to child protection, about confidentiality. Survivors involved with charity Eighteen And Under (n = 185) were invited to participate. A total of 140 participated. Eight aged 12–20, two males and 6 females chose involvement as researchers and participants and 132 aged 11–30, 25 males, 114 females and one non-gendered chose participant involvement. Eighty-five percent (n = 117) were survivors of child sexual abuse and 15% (n = 23) were survivors of child abuse. Utilizing participatory action research, researchers designed and analyzed qualitative and quantitative data gathered through surveys, interviews, focus groups, online-chats and graffiti walls. A social construction thematic approach analyzed data. Inter-rater reliability was maximized through independent data analysis. The results showed that participants, particularly males and under 16 s, wanted greater protection of confidentiality. Males were less likely to disclose sexual abuse. Two superordinate themes were identified: (a) limited confidentiality led to fear of loss of control and trust and (b) retractions of abuse and higher levels of confidentiality led to talking openly, feeling respected and believed and a sense of control and empowerment. Two further themes were identified from young researcher reports: improved self-esteem and positive life changes. In conclusion, young people unknown to services want greater confidentiality than is currently offered. Participative research was emancipatory, and further participatory research with young CSA survivors is needed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages19
    JournalInternational Journal on Child Maltreatment
    Early online date4 Jul 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2019


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