Secondary trauma in sexual abuse cases

Sexual abuse is defined as an act between a child and an adult or another child who is in a relationship of responsibility, trust and power in terms of age or development, aimed at satisfying that person’s sexual needs. When we look at the studies on child neglect and abuse, we see that they are very new and insufficient in terms of numerical data in our country. And unfortunately, the studies are carried out on 15% sexual abuse cases that may occur. However, in the last 15-20 years, we see that the interest in the subject has increased. This interest leads to an increase in our knowledge of neglect and abuse throughout the country, and the acceleration of protection and prevention efforts.

When we look at the situations that suggest child sexual abuse; Sexual behaviors that are not compatible with the child’s age, withdrawal, low self-esteem, nightmares, fears, regression, learning difficulties, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression are the most basic symptoms. Therefore, school and family have important responsibilities here.

One of the most important and perhaps the most important points that should not be overlooked in cases of sexual abuse is secondary abuse. Secondary trauma is when the child experiences and feels the traumatic event again. In other words, it is to be felt and lived. If we look at the situations in which secondary traumas occur; after the event that the child has experienced; We see that it emerges as a result of contact with the family and social environment, as well as professional groups such as judges, prosecutors, law enforcement officers, lawyers, health workers, teachers and school administration, social workers. Sometimes, such traumas occur with one or more of these occupational groups, and unfortunately, we can see that all of them contribute to a traumatic effect in the process. Therefore, the intervention of professional occupational groups after sexual abuse, their approach, and whether the child is harmed by the process or not has an important place. Occupational groups that do not have knowledge and experience of sexual abuse cases can sometimes cause situations that will leave a more traumatic trace.

The point to remember is; Secondary traumas can cause psychological damage and wear as much as the traumatic event.

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