All professionals working in health and social care need to be prepared to work with people affected by sibling sexual abuse, including both children and adult survivors. This involves understanding the nature and consequences of the abuse, in order to provide adequate responses to disclosure and identification. It also involves, where appropriate, being able to assess and manage effectively different kinds of situations involving sibling sexual abuse, and provide support for all family members in order to help them move on from harm and distress.
Sibling sexual abuse: A Knowledge and Practice Overview
Combining an overview of the current research and practice knowledge, this report was prepared by Stuart Allardyce, Director at Lucy Faithfull Foundation and Dr Peter Yates, lecturer and Programme Lead in Social Work at Edinburgh Napier University. The report focuses on supporting practice, providing an accessible resource to help professionals understand the issues and challenges raised by sibling sexual abuse. While sexual abuse involving child siblings is thought to be the most common form of intra-familial child sexual abuse, and is an issue that most protection practitioners will encounter at some stage, understanding and dealing with sibling sexual abuse can present significant challenges to professionals and families.
The report gives confidence that, through the work that professionals do, the therapeutic goal of families healing and moving forward is possible. Applying a more holistic approach, families can make sense of the trauma of sibling sexual abuse to move on in a healthy way and, while the potential impact of such abuse could be lifelong, with the right kinds of help such a catastrophic event can offer the family positive growth and change.