Perspectives of Young Child Abuse Survivors on Confidentiality: An Exploratory Literature Review

Laurie Matthew (Lead / Corresponding author), Ian Barron, Ann Hodson

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The current systematic narrative literature review sought to discover the views of young child sexual abuse (CSA) survivors, unknown to child protection services, on confidentiality. Due to the paucity of research on young CSA survivors, the review was widened to include users of sexual health services. Seventeen databases were searched, and results were refined by reading titles and abstracts, followed by full text. Analysis involved an exploratory interpretist approach to identify conceptual themes and research methodologies. Fifteen published papers were identified. Research methods were narrow and included surveys, interviews, and focus groups, with limited youth participation. In addition to the theme of confidentiality essential to this study, themes identified included - needing accurate information about services, the importance of someone non-judgemental to talk to, control over decisions affecting their lives, and better access to services. Studies indicated young people were fearful of child protection involvement. In conclusion, studies suggest young survivors unknown to child protection services need a higher level of confidential services and more control of their information. Further research involving young survivors in participatory methods is needed to explore issues of confidentiality, survivor participation, and fear of child protection agencies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-300
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Child Sexual Abuse
Issue number3
Early online date2 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2019


  • Confidentiality
  • child sexual abuse
  • participatory
  • privacy
  • sexual health services
  • young people


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