Child Sexual Abuse

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The article “Child Sexual Abuse: Finding Common Ground,” written by Frank D. Fincham, Steven R.H. Beach, Thom Moore, and Carol Diener, is taken from the scientific journal Family Relations. It deals with the overview of the main conceptions that are devoted to the problem of child sexual abuse, which may be potentially harmful for children who ask professionals for help after the cases of sexual abuse. It is a “self-scrutiny that attempted to transcend the new denial about child sexual abuse by identifying viewpoints and practices that have the potential to unnecessarily harm children who come to the attention of the professionals”.

The main statement, which is the foundation of the authors’ position, emphasizes the highest significance of children’s well-being in the actions and intentions of the professional, even if this may be painful for the latter. According to the article, there is no data offered to justify that the victims of sexual abuse who are helped by child protective services are better off than those who do not become the object of professionals’ attention. This fact brings about a question about the necessity of professionals’ help and the success of their practices. That is why the approaches of professionals should be investigated and developed in order to get better results.

The main point that may result in the improvements in the consequences of the work of these services is to increase assessment procedures’ validity and decrease their errors: false positive errors and false negative errors.

The first misconception is connected with the definition of the impact of sexual abuse. Claiming, the consequences of sexual abuse are serious, is not enough to have an accurate picture of the problem. Is must be acknowledged that the impact of sexual abuse may change from slight consequences to very serious and severe ones.

The second misconception deals with the explanation of the impact of professional help for children and the harm of false negative error or false positive error. According to the authors, it is not correct to consider one of these errors to be more costly because it does not refer to the child’s interests. The viewpoint that is more reasonable is to conclude that each of these two errors can be very harmful and even devastating, depending on the conditions and circumstances in which it appears. 

Moreover, in accordance with the article, the issue of children’s memory is also very significant in the context of problem complex investigation of improvements in the practices of child protective services. Children’s memory is often underestimated due to the wrong persuasion that it is not reliable because children are thought to report inaccurately, embellish, lie and be resistant. But, the authors emphasize the incorrectness and erroneousness of the generalizations that are made randomly in the area of child sexual abuse. That needs to be kept in mind due to the main purpose of the research – to stress children’s needs, rights, and the necessity to act remembering that.

To sum up, the authors draw the conclusion that the phenomenon of child sexual abuse and its understanding is much more complex than it seems at first sight. The discussion and speculation on different perspectives and approaches may give more well-grounded view on this problem that would be more adequate representation of reality. It is very important due to the will to give the best for the children.

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