Research on the support needs of specific population groups released

Research on the support needs of specific population groups released


A new report identifies the support needs of specific population groups including survivors of institutional child sexual abuse, survivors of child sexual abuse with disability, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander survivors of child sexual abuse. 

The Royal Commission appointed the University of New South Wales to undertake a literature review around the support needs of specific population groups who have experienced child sexual abuse. 

The report finds that there are distinctive characteristics of the harm experienced by victim/survivors of institutional child sexual abuse which affect their treatment and support needs. These can include a global loss of trust in institutions, a crisis of faith, or abandonment of religion, if the abuse was perpetrated by clergy and a fear or disrespect for authority. 

The research concludes that there is consensus in the literature that support needs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims of institutional child sexual abuse must account for the historical legacy of colonisation, racism, deprivation, forced removal of children from their families, and ensuing inter-generational trauma. 

The literature also suggests that services and supports for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have experienced child sexual abuse should be based on recognition of the central importance of extended family and community relationships.

The report also examined the literature on people with disability, finding that children with disability experience higher rates of sexual abuse than children without disability. It found very little evidence about effective treatment and support for people with disability who were sexually abused as children.

It also found indications that they may fall between ‘disciplinary gaps’ where clinicians are either disability or sexual assault specialists but may not have the required knowledge of this cohort’s intersecting needs. 

Read Service and support needs of specific population groups that have experienced child sexual abuse: Report for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The report was conducted by Associate Professor Jan Breckenridge and Gabrielle Flax from the Gendered Violence Research Network, University of New South Wales.

The report contains extensive discussion of child sexual abuse. If you experience distress you can call 1800 Respect (1800 732 732).