Mapping the landscape : intervention services for child sexual abuse in Lima, Peru




Panepinto, Lynn Anne

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In this project, I explore challenges related to providing and receiving support services after a child has experienced sexual violence. My research aims centered on mapping the landscape of existing services for child sexual abuse (CSA) in the Lima province; identifying providers’ perceptions of the beliefs and attitudes that shape CSA service delivery; and eliciting a family’s narrative regarding their experience in seeking support after CSA. Employing a qualitative research design and exploratory, descriptive approach, I interviewed twelve service providers with diverse professional backgrounds as well as one caregiver who had sought services after her daughter had experienced CSA. Upon analyzing my data, I discovered a variety of themes and grouped them into three categories: causes, or why participants believe that CSA happens; services, or how organizations intervene after CSA has occurred; and philosophy, or what drives the services that organizations provide. I also collected recommendations from service providers regarding the ways that they believe CSA intervention services could be improved. My findings reveal the interconnected nature between providers’ beliefs about what causes CSA, the services they develop to address CSA, and the organizations’ philosophies for providing services. My data also show that cultural distance exists between providers and clients because they typically come from different racial, socioeconomic, educational, and linguistic backgrounds, which impacts service delivery. Cultural distance leads providers to “other” the clients and communities they serve, believing that CSA occurs because of problems within the communities themselves. Organizations, in turn, focus on educating community members and promoting healing and justice primarily through seeking harsh penalties for perpetrators. As I learned from my caregiver interview, though, the cultural distance between providers and clients can create a disconnect between what providers believe is important and what children and families truly need after experiencing trauma. Based on participants’ recommendations along with the aforementioned findings, I posit that it is necessary to involve community members and to honor the unique experiences of each child and family in order to develop culturally informed and effective CSA services.


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