International survey reveals impact on families of survivors of child sexual abuse material
For Immediate Release
Winnipeg, Manitoba – Findings from the Canadian Centre for Child Protection’s (C3P) survey of parents of child sexual abuse material survivors shed new light on how this crime significantly impacts entire families.
Emotionally, I am shot, depressed, overwhelmed. I just want a normal life. I feel like we are living a series of crime shows.
Parents of survivors from around the globe completed the survey, including in Canada, the United States, Mexico, the Netherlands, and Australia. Twenty parents whose children's sexual abuse was recorded gave their feedback, documenting how the abuse affected their health and well-being every day and sharing important insights into gaps in services and supports that must be addressed internationally.
The report found that offenders' crimes drastically impacted survivors' parents; the crimes also negatively impacted the whole family including in parenting approaches, financial and work responsibilities, and lost relationships; that families were continually met with inadequate and retraumatizing responses from government systems and technology companies; and, amidst the pain and upheaval, parents and their families were persistent and resilient.
The other kids found it stressful and we had to work hard to make life 'normal' for them while we were dealing with this crisis. Now I feel we are closer. We communicate about difficult issues and make sure we spend time doing things together (this was part of our therapy). We as parents are more watchful (and maybe less trusting), but we try and balance it so that we are not giving a message of fear.
Based on these lived experiences, C3P has four policy recommendations for governments:
- Implement public health approaches that provide ongoing, specialized therapy to survivors, their siblings, and parents at no cost to the family.
- Mandate trauma-informed training and practices for child protective services and criminal justice systems.
- End the unnecessary and traumatizing practice of showing survivors and their parents the abuse material.
- Create regulatory frameworks that ensure technology companies do their part to curtail cycles of abuse.
C3P is grateful to each person who bravely took the time and effort to complete this survey – their voices are critical to the world understanding the ongoing impacts of this horrific crime.
The survey report is available here.