Mental health articles

OF mental health care and mentally ill

Nonoffending guardians in child sexual abuse

Nonoffending guardians in child sexual abuse Studies have traditionally defined expectations for
nonoffending guardians as those placed on them by the system, regardless of whether
they were realistic, and then determined whether nonoffending guardians could meet
those expectations. As such, quantitative studies on normative responses to abuse
disclosure for nonoffending guardians are sorely needed. Funding also should be
made available for studies that analyze constructs such as guardian support and
ambivalence. What do these constructs mean? When we remove the expectations of
the system from our guiding framework, how can these constructs be conceptualized
that is in keeping with the normative responses of nonoffending guardians? Much
work also remains to be done on developing models of nonoffending guardians that
(a) are strengths-oriented rather than punitive; (b) focus on all nonoffending guardians
rather than just nonoffending mothers; (c) recognize the multiple stressors these
nonoffending guardians are facing; and (d) develop criteria for guardian support that
are no harsher than those by which other parents are judged. Thus, much research
remains on filling the numerous gaps in the literature on the responses of nonoffending
guardians, including nonoffending mothers, nonoffending fathers, and other legal
nonoffending guardians.

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