Original Research

Guidelines for support to mothers of sexually abused children in North-West province

Gaboipolelwe M. Masilo, Mashudu Davhana-Maselesele
Curationis | Vol 40, No 1 | a1689 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v40i1.1689 | © 2017 Gaboipolelwe M. Masilo, Mashudu Davhana-Maselesele | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 March 2016 | Published: 25 July 2017

About the author(s)

Gaboipolelwe M. Masilo, Department of Nursing Science, North-West University, South Africa
Mashudu Davhana-Maselesele, Department of Nursing Science, North-West University, South Africa

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Background: South Africa is reported to have the highest rate of sexual assault in the world with over 40% of cases occurring among children. Children who are sexually abused have support programmes and policies to assist them in coping, but there are no support programmes for mothers or caretakers. Caretakers need support for themselves and assisting them will incrementally benefit children under their care. Often mothers of these children experience shock, anger, disbelief and suffer secondary trauma such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following their children’s sexual abuse disclosure and yet there are no guidelines for support to these mothers within North-West province (NWP)
Objectives: The study seeks to develop guidelines for support to mothers of sexually abused children in NWP.
Methods: Concurrent convergence triangulation mixed method design was employed in this study. The population consisted of mothers of sexually abused children (SAC) (n = 17 participants for the qualitative component and n = 180 participants for the quantitative component). A sample of mothers of SAC was purposely selected.
Results: The participants indicated significant levels of depression because of lack of support by stakeholders. Guidelines for support to assist mothers cope with their secondary trauma were developed based on the literature review, study findings as well as an ecological model of the impact of sexual assault on women’s mental health. The results also showed extreme PTSD (47.8%), little support (38.8%), not coping (76.1%) and depression (36.1%).
Conclusion: The stakeholders should consider a positive approach to support mothers whose children are sexually abused.


Child Sexual Abuse; Guidelines; Support; Experience; Disclosure


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