Service and support needs of specific population groups that have experienced child sexual abuse

Jan Breckenridge and Gabrielle Flax

July 2016

ISBN 978-1-925289-69-5

Summary

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (the Royal Commission) contracted researchers from the Gendered Violence Research Network (GVRN) at UNSW Australia to provide a literature review on the support needs of specific population groups affected by institutional child sexual abuse.

Two core questions were agreed with the Royal Commission to comprehensively address the focus of the literature review. These were:

Question 1: Do different groups of survivors have distinctive service and support needs?
Question 2: What does the research tell us about interventions targeted at specific groups and about the effectiveness of these interventions?

This report distinguishes the particular support and service needs of victims of institutional child sexual abuse and how these needs may differ from victims of non-institutional child sexual abuse. In addition, it examines whether factors such as context, duration and perpetrator influence the nature and extent of longer-term effects on survivors.

The literature presented relates specifically to services and support provided to three select population groups:

  • people who have experienced child sexual abuse in an institutional context
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • people with disability.

The first group is of primary interest to the Royal Commission, while the latter two groups have been included because of their increased vulnerability to child sexual abuse compared with the general population, their long history of institutionalisation carried out as accepted government policy, and their continued over-representation in various forms of institutional care. However, it is important to note that the research on institutional child sexual abuse does not always distinguish between these population groups, and victims could potentially be at the intersection of all three.