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'No-one else could understand': Women's experiences of a support group run by and for mothers of sexually abused children

Hill, A. (2001) 'No-one else could understand': Women's experiences of a support group run by and for mothers of sexually abused children. British Journal of Social Work, 31 (3). pp. 385-397. ISSN 0045-3102

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Previous studies have shown that when a woman finds out about the sexual abuse of her children the consequences for her are serious and can represent a major life crisis. Women in this position frequently report a lack of professional understanding and support.

The current study explores the experiences of women attending a busy peer support group at the NSPCC in York. It demonstrates the vital role that peer support can play. It traces a variety of factors which mean that family, friends and social workers are not well placed to help. At the heart of these difficulties are the powerful feelings of guilt and failure in their role as mothers which the women experienced as a result of the sexual abuse of their children. For these women it was impossible to share with social workers their doubts about their own abilities as mothers, particularly in a context in which those workers were making judgements about their ‘ability to protect’. On the other hand the support group provided a safe and non-judgemental forum in which these powerful emotions could be expressed and dealt with. The study explores the role that social workers can play in relation to such groups.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > Social Policy and Social Work (York)
Depositing User: York RAE Import
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2009 14:56
Last Modified: 17 Jul 2009 14:56
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/31.3.385
Status: Published
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Identification Number: 10.1093/bjsw/31.3.385
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/5748

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