Disclosure of sexual abuse among youth in residential treatment care: A multiple informant comparison

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Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 23(4): 398-417

This exploratory study describes the child sexual abuse experiences of 53 youth (ages 14-17) in child protective services residential treatment care using three informants: youth (via the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire), residential treatment workers (via the Child Welfare Trauma Referral Tool), and the child protective services record. Child sexual abuse was self-reported by 38% of youth, with reporting by females almost four times higher. Child sexual abuse co-occurred with physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect in 75% of cases. Agreement between youth and residential treatment worker reports was high, while agreement between youth reports and their child protective services record was low. The study suggests systematic child sexual abuse screening among residential treatment care youth through self-reports and residential treatment worker reports. Case studies are provided, and implications for practice, policy, and future research are discussed.

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Canadian CW research
Journal article