Date of Award

2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Educational Leadership PhD

First Advisor

James A. Tucker

Second Advisor

Shirley A. Freed

Third Advisor

Elvin Gabriel

Abstract

Purpose. This study examines the experiences of children and their non-offending parents who attended the Multi-disciplinary Investigation Team‘s (MIT) After Care Clinic. The study seeks to understand the ways in which the care provided at the After Care Clinic helped stabilize the child and the non-offending parent. Additionally, this study explores what strategies were effective in stabilizing the families and resulted in their cooperation with prosecution of the perpetrator.

Method. Seven children and their non-offending parents simultaneously attended 12 weeks of trauma treatment with two trauma therapists. The case studies used for this study were based on clinical notes and observations that were documented in the case notes. All data used were secondary. Each child in the study attended the MIT After Care Clinic and was forensically interviewed by the Danbury Multi-disciplinary Investigation Team after a sexual abuse disclosure. Following the forensic interview, the child and the non-offending parent were referred to the After Care Clinic for therapy.

Results and Conclusion. The findings from the study identified strategies from the trauma therapy that were effective in stabilizing both the child and the non-offending parent. The findings also identified that having the clinicians be trained forensic interviewers assisted in ascertaining additional disclosures and court-worthy information. Overall, the families that engaged in treatment at the MIT After Care Clinic had outcomes that resulted in convictions.

Recommendations for Further Study. Further study is needed. Many victims and their families are devastated by the disclosure of sexual abuse and are in need of support. There have been multiple studies conducted on trauma therapy, child abuse disclosure, and the necessity for support by the non-offending parent. The following is a list of recommendations that would continue to support this area of study: (a) compare the conviction rates of sexual offenders with conviction rates of sexual offenders when families are not engaged in therapy connected with a Multi-disciplinary Investigation Team, (b) perform a study with a larger number of families, (c) perform a study for children and families in group therapy and look at the success rates of trauma symptom reduction and court corporation, and (d) perform a study in which there is only one clinician, who is not forensically trained, connected to a Multi-disciplinary Investigation Team that is providing services to the victim.

Subject Area

Sexually abused children, Parents of sexually abused children, Sexual abuse victims.

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