This podcast on sibling sexual abuse is geared toward social workers in the UK. TALK is sharing this rare content as we think survivors may also find it useful as it contains a lot of good information about the scope of the issue and family dynamics.
This Learn on the go, a Community Care Inform podcast episode is about sibling sexual abuse. We spoke to Anna Glinski, deputy director, knowledge and practice development, at the Centre of expertise on child sexual abuse (the CSA Centre, for short) and Stuart Allardyce, a director of the Lucy Faithfull Foundation with responsibilities for Stop It Now! Scotland, who is one of the authors of a report the CSA Centre published in January: Sibling sexual abuse: a knowledge and practice overview.
The discussion explores key themes from the report, including why sibling sexual abuse can be particularly challenging for social workers to work with, how practice can deal with the fact that both the child who has been harmed and the child who has harmed are children, supporting parents who often feel a ‘grenade’ has gone off in the family and struggle with shame, denial and blame, and working with the family as a whole. Anna and Stuart explain how work in these cases can actually be very hopeful in providing a window to make a significant positive difference in the lives and longer term outcomes for children and the family.
Some important information from the CSA Centre’s report Sibling Sexual Abuse: a knowledge and practice overview:
- Thought to be the most common form of intra-familial child sexual abuse – three times more common than abuse by a parent. With the CSA Centre’s modest estimations of child sexual abuse impacting 15% of girls and 5% of boys before the age of 16, the scale of children affected by sibling sexual abuse is marked.
- We know that children who have sexually abused another sibling are likely to have experienced some form of abuse or trauma in their own lives. Most studies tell us that 30-50% of adolescents who act in sexually harmful ways have been sexually abused themselves.
- The most common reported pattern of sibling sexual abuse involves an older brother abusing a younger sister, and most of what we know from research relates to this pairing.
- Sibling sexual abuse can be every bit as harmful as sexual abuse by a parent, with short- and long-term effects on physical and mental health