Identifying psycho-social risk factors for children of mothers who were sexually abused during childhood
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With this research the researcher aims to explore and describe the psycho-social risk factors for children of mothers with a history of childhood sexual abuse in order to gain a better understanding of the extent to which a mother can place her child at risk of also being abused. Insight into this question will enable social workers and other family practitioners with the ability to conduct more accurate assessments and consequently design effective intervention strategies that are focused on alleviating risk to children. This study reveals that participants experience significant challenges in respect of their relationships with their intimate partners. Trust issues and self-blame are but a few factors identified that impact on the quality of the intimate partner relationship and consequently threatens the stability of the family unit. Several risk factors relating to this theme have been identified that could impact on a child‟s safety and welfare. According to the study, a mother with a history of childhood sexual abuse also has a higher tendency to experience difficulties in her role as a parent. A lack of confidence in parenting abilities and difficulty forming and maintaining secure attachments with her children (specifically female children) serve as significant factors increasing the likelihood of such a mother‟s children being at risk of child abuse and neglect. The effect childhood sexual abuse has on a mother has been proven to also impact extensively on her mental and physical health. Due to significant challenges maintaining stability in her overall well-being, several risks have been identified for the children of such a mother, which includes potential child neglect and abuse, as well as an increased risk of being placed in alternative care. In this study it became evident that social support serves as a protective factor, minimising the risk of a mother placing her child at risk of child abuse and neglect. This study also revealed that the impact of childhood sexual abuse on various aspects of the mother‟s overall functioning can be reduced if the mother is engaged in individual therapy, group therapy, couples therapy, parental groups and attachment therapy focusing on the parent-child relationship.
- Humanities