Fathers with a history of child sexual abuse: New findings for policy and practice

Fathers with a history of child sexual abuse: New findings for policy and practice

Rhys Price-Robertson

CFCA Paper No. 6 — July 2012
Fathers with a history of child sexual abuse: New findings for policy and practice

The trauma of child sexual abuse can manifest in many areas of victim/survivors' lives, including their attitudes towards parenting and their relationships with their children. This paper outlines the key findings of the limited research that has investigated how a history of child sexual abuse can influence men's perceptions and experience of fatherhood, and also discusses some of the reasons why this important topic remains largely excluded from public, academic and policy discourses. This paper will be most useful to practitioners and policy-makers who work to support men, parents and/or families.

Key messages

Many men who were sexually abused as children face unique experiences and difficulties in connection with fatherhood, including fears that they may abuse their own children, problems with physical contact or displays of affection with their children, and overprotectiveness of their children.

The issue of child sexual abuse impacting on men's perceptions and experience of fatherhood remains largely excluded from both popular and professional discourses.

The first step towards improving policy and service responses to these male victim/survivors is to raise awareness of the difficulties they may face with regard to fatherhood.

As there are strong disincentives to male victim/survivors themselves revealing their difficulties with fatherhood, it is likely that service providers, practitioners and policy-makers will need to play a leadership role in promoting awareness of this issue.

Authors and Acknowledgements

Rhys Price-Robertson is a Senior Research Officer with the Child Family Community Australia information exchange at the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

The author is grateful for the helpful conversation, advice and comments from Gary Foster, Antonia Quadara, Daryl Higgins, Elly Robinson, Amy Watson, Ken Knight and Cathryn Hunter.

The feature image is by Brendan C, CC BY 2.0.

Publication details

CFCA Paper
No. 6
Published by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, July 2012.
7 pp.

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