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Child sexual abuse prevention: parental discussion, protective practices and attitudes

Child sexual abuse prevention: parental discussion, protective practices and attitudes

Rudolph, Julia ORCID: 0000-0003-4878-3537, Walsh, Kerryann, Shanley, Dianne C. and Zimmer-Gembeck, Melanie J. (2022) Child sexual abuse prevention: parental discussion, protective practices and attitudes. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 37 (23-24). NP22375-NP22400. ISSN 0886-2605 (Print), 1552-6518 (Online) (doi:

37014_RUDOLPH_Child_sexual_abuse_AAM.pdf - Accepted Version

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Understanding parental practices and attitudes regarding child sexual abuse (CSA) prevention could be used to improve CSA prevention, but little information is available. In this study, we summarise survey data collected from 248 Australian and UK parents (87% female) with at least one child aged 6-11 years (M = 8.6, SD = 1.8). This is the first study to quantify parental use of protective practices, other than prevention education, which may guard against CSA. Parental media mediation, which may safeguard against online dangers, was another unique focus of this study. Participants reported their discussion of sensitive topics with their children including CSA; behaviors that may reduce the incidence of CSA (e.g., monitoring, supervision, delegation of care and checking-in with the child); mediation of their child's media use; and attitudes towards CSA prevention education. Parents reported discussing sexual abuse less than other sensitive topics such as abduction dangers, drugs, and death but more than issues surrounding puberty, sex and pornography. Parents reported using high levels of protective behaviours, however some areas of concern were revealed. Of concern was the low-moderate level of parental media mediation, with substantial numbers of children potentially exposed to online risks such as using devices unsupervised in bedrooms or chatting to individuals unknown to their parents and not having their devices checked for concerning content. Almost all parents were supportive of CSA prevention education and felt they should provide this education. However, two-thirds of parents thought CSA education may be associated with harms for the child and two-thirds of parents believed children could prevent their own abuse. Reported results will aid in our understanding of which areas of parenting could be strengthened to create safer environments for children. This research has particularly highlighted the need for parents to be more protective around their children’s access to online devices.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: child sexual abuse; protective behaviours; parents; prevention; media; mediation; education
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > School of Human Sciences (HUM)
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2022 12:36

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