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Child sexual abuse in ethnic minority communities

Summary

We wanted to find out more from ethnic minority communities about:

  • their views and experiences of disclosing and reporting child sexual abuse; 
  • their views on, and experiences of, interactions with institutions in relation to child sexual abuse; 
  • and the nature of support victims and survivors receive. 

In collaboration with the Race Equality Foundation we carried out focus groups with members of different ethnic minority communities within a small number of areas in England and Wales.

 

Key Themes

  • Ethnic minority communities
  • Barriers and support
  • Interactions with institutions

Background

Child sexual abuse affects all communities but there is a lack of information on how child sexual abuse affects ethnic minority communities specifically. The Inquiry wants to improve engagement with ethnic minority communities and we sought their views on child sexual abuse and institutional responses to child sexual abuse.

What we learned

  • People told us that cultural stereotypes and racism can lead to institutions and professionals failing to identify and respond to child sexual abuse and can make it difficult for people from ethnic minorities to speak up about child sexual abuse. In some cases, professionals only see a person’s ethnic group rather than the whole person. 

  • How child sexual abuse is seen and responded to in ethnic minority communities can be influenced by expectations about gender and by the shame and stigma that is sometimes associated with child sexual abuse.

  • Participants’ perceptions and experiences of institutions and institutional responses to child sexual abuse were mixed but tended to be negative. Some of these negative views were linked to experiences of racism and a lack of cultural diversity and cultural awareness in services. 

  • Overall, although better than in the past, more can be done to raise awareness, remove barriers to disclosure and improve responses to child sexual abuse in ethnic minority communities.

Implications for the work of the Inquiry

This research has provided the Inquiry with valuable insights into the views and experiences of people from ethnic minority communities. The Inquiry has also been carrying out extensive engagement work with organisations serving ethnic minority communities. Both pieces of work will help to shape the Inquiry’s final conclusions and recommendations.

The report, “People don’t talk about it”: Child sexual abuse in ethnic minority communities, was published in June 2020.

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