Addressing Intrafamilial Child Sexual Abuse: Lessons from the Victim-Friendly Court in Marondera District, Zimbabwe.
Musiwa Anthony Shuko.
Centre for Research on Children and Families
Published: July 2019
Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal
Vol. 37, No. 2 , p. 207-225
Springer International Publishing AG
233 Spring Street
New York, NY 10013
Tel: 212-460-1500 800-SPRINGER
Against the background of limited research on intrafamilial child sexual abuse responses in resource-constrained settings, this study evaluated the multisectoral response to intrafamilial child sexual abuse by the Victim-Friendly Court initiative in Marondera District, Zimbabwe. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect data from twenty-five professionals from the thirteen agencies implementing the Victim-Friendly Court initiative in the district. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with fifteen community-level participants comprising child survivors of intrafamilial child sexual abuse and their caregivers, plus key community child protection committee members. All participants were purposively selected. Court records of intrafamilial child sexual abuse cases handled by the Victim-Friendly Court initiative in Marondera, Zimbabwe, between January 2014 and December 2014 were also reviewed. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis, document analysis and descriptive statistics. The study revealed that the multisectoral approach used by the Victim-Friendly Court in Marondera, Zimbabwe, is effective in addressing the complex and ever-evolving factors associated with intrafamilial child sexual abuse in the district. However, it also established several challenges which negatively impacted the Victim-Friendly Court's efforts to address this problem. The study recommended several policy and practice responses to address these challenges. It also submitted that continuous research and collection of better statistics on intrafamilial child sexual abuse are important for development of evidence-based policies and decisions and for better monitoring of progress and evaluation of outcomes. Ultimately, supporting the Victim-Friendly Court initiative in Marondera, Zimbabwe, is important for a more responsive and sustainable multisectoral response to intrafamilial child sexual abuse. (Author abstract)
child abuse; sexual abuse; intervention; abusive parents; family courts; interagency collaboration; community based services; Zimbabwe