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03-10-2015 | Original Paper | Uitgave 3/2016

Journal of Child and Family Studies 3/2016

Parent-Involved Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse: A Qualitative Exploration of Parents’ Perceptions and Practices in Beijing

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 3/2016
Qian Wen Xie, Dong Ping Qiao, Xiao Lei Wang


Parents are vital to the successful prevention of child sexual abuse (CSA). A better understanding of parents’ perceptions and practice of CSA is essential for developing and implementing effective parent-involved prevention programs. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to explore how and why parents in China perceive and respond to the CSA problem in the way that they do. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a sample of 26 parents of preschool- or primary school-aged children in Beijing, who were purposely selected to be diverse in gender, age, and socioeconomic status. The results show that parents’ definition of CSA included four levels of sexual activities and invoked some additional factors. Parents perceived that CSA risks differed between all children and their own children, between boys and girls, and between poor and nonpoor children. They insisted that perpetrators were more likely to be familiar rather than strangers. There were some barriers hindering their CSA preventive practice, especially their ability or willingness to discuss CSA with their children. Furthermore, parents’ perceptions and practices were analyzed and discussed within a Chinese sociocultural context, and compared with those in Western developed countries. This study’s findings suggest that in the absence of government leadership and professional intervention services for CSA, parent-involved CSA prevention should be developed in mainland China and that CSA prevention education for Chinese parents should be a key part of these initiatives.

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