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Disability and Child Sexual Abuse


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Table of Contents

Introduction. 1. Seven Disabled People with Telling Stories. 2. Narrative and Enabling Stories of Child Abuse. 3. An Abusive Society? 4. The Double Whammy Effect. 5. Expressions and Survival of Pain. 6. Organizational Abuse. 7. Who Abuses and Why? 8. Collective Identities. 9. Narratives of the Narrative. 10. Conclusion: towards a Non-Abusive Society. References. Index

About the Author

Martina Higgins is a disabled parent of a disabled child. She has previously worked as a social work practitioner and manager, predominantly in the field of child protection. John Swain is Professor of Disability and Inclusion at Northumbria University, and has worked in Disability Studies for over 25 years. He is Executive Editor of the Disability and Society Journal, and has written approximately 70 publications, including From a Different Viewpoint: The Lives and Experiences of Visually Impaired People, with Sally French, published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers.


This book places powerful individual narratives firmly at its centre, which gives it significant strength and credibility... The clarity of perspective on the meaning of disability and its links to abuse gives this book an unusual legitimacy. -- Child Abuse Review
For anyone wishing to develop their understanding of the social model of disability this book is a useful text... Higgins speaks openly about the personal and professional experience she brings as researcher to this project. She gives a thorough account of some of the ethical and practical considerations encountered whilst using a narrative approach...This text gave me a reminder of the impact of the social model in this area and the need to re-examine practice and policy in light of this. -- Professional Social Work
This book enables the reader to understand the social context in which the sexual abuse of disabled children occurs and the impact of that abuse upon the individual concerned... this is one of the strengths of the book, as it serves to remind the reader not only of the emotionally and physically destructive impact sexual abuse can have, but also of the effects of growing up disabled in a society that devalues children and adults with impairments. The book covers a wide range of issues, weaving in the individuals' stories throughout. It highlights the social context of the sexual abuse of disabled children and makes the pint that despite knowledge that disabled children are a vulnerable group, the dearth of research in this area perhaps mirrors the de-valued status disabled people have in society. The stories told by the participants draw attention to how being undervalued by family members can impact upon disabled children's views of themselves, most often in a negative way, leading to loss of self-esteem... Disability and Child Sexual Abuse is a book that contains a wealth of information and would be of great use to any practitioner working with disabled children or adults. --, Rachel Clawson, Development Manager, Safeguarding Disabled Children Services, Ann Craft Trust and Special Lecturer, Centre for Social Work, University of Nottingham
This is an important and well-written book which addresses subjects such as infanticide and false memory syndrome with a capable and compassionate attitude. The authors write of the need to distinguish between 'narrative truth' conveyed during the therapeutic process as opposed to 'historical truth' which is associated with facts and the legal connotations. -- Therapy Today
Children and young people with disabilities are at the highest risk of all forms of abuse. Until comparatively recently the vulnerability of children with disabilities to sexual abuse have been denied or dismissed using expressions such as, 'They don't understand what happened' or even, 'She probably asked for it'. In this unique book, Martina Higgins and John Swain have for the first time given victims with disabilities a voice. Disability and Child Sexual Abuse effectively combines life histories with theory to provide valuable insights for all those working with abuse survivors, children and adults with disabilities and, I hope, will lead to better protection and support. -- Emeritus Professor Freda Briggs AO, University of South Australia

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