Several researches indicate that most child victims delay disclosing of sexual abuse for significant periods of time. There are numerous reasons as to why children are avoiding the disclosure of the abuse. The aim of this study was to determine how a mother’s response to a child’s allegations impacts the child’s willingness to disclose sexual abuse.
We conducted a retrospective quantitative and qualitative analysis of 73 court-referred cases of child sexual abuse which have been disclosed in Slovenia in the last ten years. All the child victims included in the study were female and the perpetrators adult male persons. The expert opinions were made by the same expert.
We realized that, at the occurrence of abuse, the child victims were from 4 to 15 years old and their mean age was at 11. 5 years. About two-thirds of children were victims of the intra-familial type (61.6%) and a little more than one third of extra-familial type of sexual abuse (38.4%). The group of victims with the support of their mothers needed about 9 months to disclose the secret, while the delay of the disclosure in the cases without the support of mothers was much longer (M=6.9 years).
For female child victims of sexual abuse the perceived protective attitude of their mothers is very important. Especially when the sexual abuse happened in the family, the mother’s support can attribute to stop the ongoing abuse, eliminate its immediate effects and decrease its likely negative long-term outcome.