The construction of community understandings of sexual violence: rethinking public, practitioner and policy discourses.
This article explores current societal framings and understandings of sexual violence, particularly child sexual abuse. The article starts by explaining how societal perceptions of child sexual abuse are formed through implicit and explicit theories, followed by a brief examination of media, professional and public understandings of child sexual abuse. This is then compared to research-based knowledge on sexual violence and child sexual abuse in particular. A public health approach is presented as a critical way of engaging communities, publics and society in an informed discourse about child sexual abuse, with a view to increasing both understanding and engagement. Finally, the article will posit the hypothesis that with recent news stories, such as the Jimmy Savile case in the UK and the Penn State case in the USA, organisations and individuals are beginning to ask for more information, trying to ask harder questions and this presents a unique opportunity to fully engage with the emerging public health approach of change.
Special issue of Journal of Sexual Aggression based on ESRC Knowledge Exchange Network
Citation : McCartan, K. F., Kemshall, H., and Tabachnick, J. (2015) The construction of community understandings of sexual violence: rethinking public, practitioner and policy discourses. Journal of Sexual Aggression, 21 (1) , pp. 100-116
ISSN : 1742-6545
Research Group : Community & Criminal Justice Research
Peer Reviewed : Yes