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ERIC Number: EJ859183
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Oct
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0145-2134
What Canadian Youth Tell Us about Disclosing Abuse
Ungar, Michael; Tutty, Leslie M.; McConnell, Sheri; Barter, Ken; Fairholm, Judi
Child Abuse & Neglect: The International Journal, v33 n10 p699-708 Oct 2009
Objective: To report findings from a study of anonymous disclosures of abuse experiences among a national sample of youth in Canada who participated in violence prevention programming. Methods: A qualitative analysis was done of a purposeful sample of 1,099 evaluation forms completed following Red Cross RespectED violence prevention programming delivered between 2000 and 2003. Forms were selected based on program facilitators identifying voluntary, anonymous disclosures by youth participants of neglect and emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. Additional data for this analysis includes 27 interviews and focus groups that were used to understand the context of these disclosures and to engage the help of youth and program facilitators in the interpretation of findings. Results: While this study is exploratory and non-representative in its design, findings suggest high rates of hidden abuse, with less than a quarter of youth with abuse experiences reporting a disclosure. Disclosure patterns vary with boys, youth aged 14-15, victims of physical abuse, and those abused by a family member being most likely to disclose to professionals or the police. Interviews help to explain the large number of youth who express reticence to disclose to professionals. Specifically, the data show a perception among youth of negative consequences following disclosure. Conclusions: This data raises questions regarding why youth are reluctant to report abuse to professionals, preferring to cope independently or by confiding in peers. Youth in this study report feeling anxious about disclosing to authorities, fearful of the potential loss of control over decisions which affect them. Practice implications: Findings suggest that professionals who provide support to young people's own networks of family and friends may help to facilitate youths' disclosures of abuse. Furthermore, prevention programming that promotes a positive attitude towards disclosure of abuse experiences and provides an anonymous forum (such as an evaluation form) in which to do so is likely to encourage more young people to disclose. (Contains 4 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada