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An overview of healthy childhood sexual development

overview
 

The truth about forensic assessments and sound forensic practise

Introduction:

Forensic assessments in cases of alleged sexual abuse is a specialized field of work for which few private practitioners, nor those working at welfare organizations, are equipped. Parents and significant adults in children’s lives are often under the misconception that any therapist, social worker and/or psychologist can do these type of assessments – which jeopardize successful prosecution and results in re-assessment of children and secondary trauma for both the child and parents involved.

FACT’s heart and passion is to bring the truth about forensic assessments, sound forensic practice and the standard of who can conduct these assessments, to light. This document will provide you with a brief overview of forensic practice and highlight some important questions you might never have thought of asking.

What is a forensic assessment?
Forensic assessments are conducted, by experts in the field of sexual abuse and forensic interviewing, when there are suspicions and or allegations that a child has been abused. The purpose of the forensic investigation is to conduct a comprehensive, neutral and objective investigation to obtain the facts and aid the Court in determining whether or not a criminal offence has been committed.

The purpose of the forensic assessment is a search for facts by means of an investigation process that is founded in research and international literature relevant to the field of sexual abuse. The process of forensic assessment furhter should always include the testing of various hypotheses and alterantive explanations as part of a neutral and objective investagation process (Steele, 2012 ; Faller, 2007; Fouche, 2006).

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a critical analysis of legislation pertaining to the sexual abuse of children

Authors:

  • Louise P Aucamp
    Social worker in private practice
    Email
  • Marie M Steyn
    Division Social Work, Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University, Potchefstroom
    Email
  • Esmé van Rensburg
    Division Psychology, Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University, Potchefstroom
    Email

Abstract:

Knowledge of legislation pertaining to sexual abuse is imperative for health care professionals working with the child who has been sexually abused. This article will provide a critical analysis of those aspects of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 32 of 2007, relevant to the health care professional. The shortcomings of the Act and the practical implication of these for healthcare professionals will be highlighted. Focus is also placed on the relevant sections of the Childcare Act, 38 of 2005 and how these sections complement the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 32 of 2007.

Introduction:

The phenomenon of sexual abuse is one that helping professions are faced with on an increasing basis. In order to address this phenomenon effectively in practice – whether in assessment, evaluation, intervention planning or therapy – it is of the utmost importance that professionals are aware of current legislation pertaining to sexual abuse of children and the practical implication of legislation. When professionals are without knowledge of relevant legislation pertaining to cases of alleged sexual abuse, intervention is often planned without taking relevant legal aspects into account, with the result that interventions fail to meet legal requirements and prerequisites.

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redefining child sexual abuse:
from a legal to a psychosocial perspective

Authors:

  • Louise P Aucamp
    Social worker in private practice
    Email
  • Marie M Steyn
    Division Social Work, Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University, Potchefstroom
    Email
  • Esmé van Rensburg
    Division Psychology, Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University, Potchefstroom
    Email

Abstract:

In order to effectively help traumatised children to achieve positive outcomes, one must have a clearly defined methodology, underpinned by theory and based on an integrated approach. The first step towards this is clearly to redefine the phenomenon of the sexual abuse of children. As sexual abuse is both a legal and a psychosocial phenomenon, the authors are of the opinion that the South African context necessitates a more integrative definition. The information in this article is therefore aimed at providing health care professionals with an integrative definition that takes into account both the South African legal definition of sexual abuse and the underlying psychosocial factors with which it is associated.

Introduction:

The incidence of the sexual abuse of children is reaching new statistical highs in South Africa. According to a research study conducted in 2009 on the incidence of child sexual abuse in South Africa by the social welfare arm (Helpende Hand [Helping Hand]) of the trade union Solidariteit (Solidarity), an average of 60 cases of child rape per day are reported in the country (Solidariteit, 2009:1).



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the use of anatomical dolls

If you have any enquiries regarding the use of anatomical dolls or the assessment of sexually abused children, please contact us

Authors:

  • Louise P Aucamp
    Social worker in private practice
    Email

Abstract:

Anatomical Dolls should ideally only be used by professionals who have adequate training in the field of child sexual abuse, child development and specific training in the use of anatomical dolls and then, with due caution. Of the various communication media that can be used with children during Forensic Investigations into allegations of sexual abuse, anatomical dolls are the most controversial. There have been a number of challenges to the use of anatomical dolls. The most important criticism against the use of anatomical dolls is that they are considered leading and overly suggestive. It is therefore of the utmost importance that anatomical dolls should be used with caution. Using anatomical dolls outside of the recommended guidelines is dangerous and may potentially jeopardize safeguarding a child against further abuse, as well as jeopardize successful prosecution. It is inappropriate to use anatomical dolls as a diagnostic aid, or to base any conclusion regarding whether or not a child has been sexually abused, purely on the child’s interaction with anatomical dolls.

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An ecological perspective on the effect of childhood sexual abuse on children

Authors:

  • Louise P Aucamp
    Social worker in private practice
    Email
  • Marie M Steyn
    Division Social Work, Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University, Potchefstroom
    Email
  • Esmé van Rensburg
    Division Psychology, Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University, Potchefstroom
    Email

Abstract:

Sexual abuse is a phenomenon with far-reaching effects. This article will provide a holistic look at the effects of sexual abuse from an ecological systems perspective. The effect of sexual abuse on the child as the focus of the microsystem will be highlighted, as well as the effects on the parents or the child’s caregiver as the meso system. The authors will attempt to highlight the interactive dynamics between the different systems and will explain how each system can contribute to either mitigating or exacerbating the effects of abuse on the child.

Introduction:

Over the last several decades, health care professionals have witnessed a dramatic increase in knowledge of the effect of trauma on children and adolescents. It is indisputable that sexual abuse has a multi-faceted effect on the child and his functioning (Colarusso 2010:3; Karakurt & Silver 2014:80; McFarlane & Yehuda 2007:157; Van der Kolk & MacFarlane 2007:15-16). Although there is agreement amongst authors when it comes to the effect of sexual abuse on the child, most of them list possible symptoms of sexual abuse when referring to this effect. However, practitioners fall short when they know only the “signs or indications” associated with sexual abuse, and lack understanding of the underlying psychological dynamics that cause them.



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