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Cultural barriers to the disclosure of child sexual abuse in Asian communities: Listening to what women say.

By Philip A. Gilligan and S. Akhtar


NoThere is apparent under-reporting of child sexual abuse in Britain¿s Asian communities\ud and a varied capacity amongst professionals to respond with cultural competence. Professional\ud approaches originate in cultural contexts, which are often different from\ud those of most British Asians. If the proportion of children and non-abusing carers from\ud Asian communities who access relevant services is to increase, professionals need to\ud develop better understandings of cultural imperatives which determine behaviour in\ud those communities. Consultations with Asian women in Bradford reinforce the view\ud that culturally competent practice and respectful dialogue are essential to the protection\ud of children. They also highlight a number of recurring themes. Members of Asian\ud communities are aware of child sexual abuse, they recognize that the issue needs to be\ud addressed by all communities and they report that many of those affected within their\ud own communities have found it difficult to access relevant services. These consultations,\ud like reports of similar work elsewhere, indicate that difficulties, which appear to\ud arise from Asian women¿s fears about how agencies will respond, are frequently compounded\ud by the impact of cultural imperatives arising from izzat (honour/respect),\ud haya (modesty) and sharam (shame/embarrassment), which have a considerable influence\ud on how many will behave.This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in British Journal of Social Work following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version: Gilligan, Philip A. and Akhtar, Shamin (2006). Cultural barriers to the disclosure of child sexual abuse in Asian communities: Listening to what women say. British Journal of Social Work, Vol. 36, No. 8, pp. 1361-1377, is available online at:

Topics: Sexual abuse, Asian communities, Bradford, Cultural competence, Izzat, Child sexual abuse
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Year: 2006
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Bradford Scholars

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