• Summary
  • Contents

In the battle against family sexual abuse, most studies and research findings have examined the problem on a national level--but what about the studies that have been done at the local level? With contributions from practitioners and researchers, Family Sexual Abuse deftly explores the results of eleven research projects covering such issues as sibling incest, the background of sexual offenders, effects of sexual abuse on children, effects of offender removal from the home, effects of reunification, and the prognosis for incest offenders after treatment. While large, national studies provide information on major trends in family sexual abuse, this five-year look at Minnesota studies reflects the real impact of interventions in the context of local practitioners dealing with local problems. As such, these studies clearly demonstrate the significant contributions small studies and specific program evaluations can make to both research and practice in the field of family sexual abuse. Family Sexual Abuse is a resource no practitioner or researcher in this field can afford to be without. “This book, in contrast to most studies and research findings in the field of family sexual abuse, which examine the problem on a national level, presents the findings of 11 frontline enquiries conducted by practitioners and researchers under the auspices of the Family Sexual Abuse Project (FSAP) in Minnesota in the period 1985–1990. It is precisely this focus on the application of current knowledge (and the lack of it) interacting with changing social policy at a local level which provides this book with its distinctive contribution.” --Journal of the British Association for Counselling “In comparison to most edited volumes, these articles are consistently well-written…. This volume is worthwhile because these articles do not pretend to tell a simple story. In his conclusion, Michael Patton argues that the composite findings weave a ‘mosaic of enormous complexity,’ and in doing so, these articles raise many questions and encourage much thought.” --Journal of Marriage and the Family “This is an extremely useful book for practitioners in the field of child sexual abuse, with the bonus of practical advice for both researchers and practitioners on how to study the problems of child sexual abuse.” --Child Abuse Review “The spirit in which this book is written is the essence of a positive approach to research dissemination. It aims to report on and share with a wide audience the findings of eleven small-scale research studies undertaken in the state of Minnesota between 1985 and 1990. The book's appeal lies in its focus on wider application of knowledge to local policy and practice in the field of child protection. A major feature of the work is the spirit of collaboration and openness to peer review in which the work was undertaken…. The book's rather dry title undervalues its rich and varied content…. Each chapter stands on its own or the book can be read as a whole. Its strength is in the variety of material, methodologies, and issues presented…. Of particular interest to the reader is the study which investigates the extent of abuse among American Indian families. The work was set up within an ethically sensitive framework and it provides an excellent model for the development of an anti-racist research methodology. Other chapters focus on the provocative issues of abuse indicators, intergenerational and sibling abuse. The accounts provide a clear, unambiguous account of work undertaken and they raise important, if uncomfortable, questions about each of the areas under discussion…. There are five main strengths of this book. First, it challenges older and newer myths about the extent and nature of sexual abuse; second, it makes a considered analysis of the effects of abuse from a range of perspectives; third, it adds to our understanding of the reasons why men and women sexually abuse their children; fourth, it evaluates a range of treatment models, and finally, it clearly states issues for policy, practice, and further research. The book also raises important issues in relation to methodology, namely the need to triangulate methods and to have specialist training for researchers involved in this area of research so that the voice of survivors can be heard and attended to. The book will be of interest to a wide audience. It merits extensive readership and debate. It should be able to achieve both, not least because of its accessible and thought-provoking style.” --British Journal of Social Work “This book breaks new ground by investigating the impact of sexual abuse interventions at the local level. This five-year look at 11 independent research projects in Minnesota encompasses the spectrum of issues, including the identification and effects of sexual abuse, sibling incest, the effects of family reunification, and the treatment of sexual offenders and abuse survivors. A significant contribution to the field …” --Child Welfare

Taking Sibling Incest Seriously
Taking sibling incest seriously
Michael J.O'Brien

There has been an explosion of publications over the past two decades on the subject of family sexual abuse, reflecting society's awareness and recognition of a problem previously hidden behind a cultural veil of denial, secrecy, and disbelief. While the literature has focused most attention on father-daughter incest, there is general agreement that the most prevalent type of incestuous behavior occurs between siblings (Finkelhor, 1980; Lindzey, 1967). Despite its prevalence, however, sexual behavior between siblings is often regarded as mere “sex play” that is exploratory, mutually consenting, mutually enjoyable, and benign in its effects on later psychological, social, or sexual development. Consequently, the research literature on family sexual abuse has largely ignored sibling incest, dismissing it as ...

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