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"It's Just the Abuse that Needs to Stop": Professional Framing of Sibling Relationships in a Grounded Theory Study of Social Worker Decision Making Following Sibling Sexual Behavior

Yates, Peter

Authors

Peter Yates



Abstract

Sibling abuse is a global problem, arguably the most prevalent form of family violence, and as harmful as other familial abuse. There is evidence internationally that sibling abuse often goes unrecognized or is minimized by professionals from education, health and social care. The responses of social workers are of particular interest as key decision makers in child welfare, yet research has focused on concerns about parental abuse rather than risks presented by children within a family. This paper presents findings from research examining social worker decision-making in cases involving sibling sexual behavior. Interviews were conducted across six Scottish local authorities with twenty-one social workers having responsibility for such cases. Forty-five hours of in-depth interviews regarding 21 families and 54 children involved in sibling sexual behavior were audiotaped, transcribed verbatim, and analysed using constructivist grounded theory. The study found that social workers frame sibling relationships as non-abusive and of intrinsic value, and when faced with contradictory evidence engage in a number of mechanisms to maintain this frame. This paper makes a significant contribution to the sociology of siblinghood and provides an explanation that is more profound than existing theories for the internationally recognized problem of the marginalization of sibling abuse.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 3, 2019
Online Publication Date Dec 18, 2019
Publication Date Dec 18, 2019
Deposit Date Nov 5, 2019
Publicly Available Date Dec 19, 2020
Journal Journal of Child Sexual Abuse
Print ISSN 1053-8712
Electronic ISSN 1547-0679
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 29
Issue 2
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/10538712.2019.1692399
Keywords Sibling abuse, Sibling incest, Harmful sexual behavior, Inappropriate sexual behavior, Child sexual abuse, Sibling relationships, Decision making, Constructivist grounded theory
Public URL http://researchrepository.napier.ac.uk/Output/2290712

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“It’s Just the Abuse that Needs to Stop”: Professional Framing of Sibling Relationships in a Grounded Theory Study of Social Worker Decision Making Following Sibling Sexual Behavior (458 Kb)
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Copyright Statement
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Child Sexual Abuse on [date of publication], available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/[Article DOI].






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