The paper portrays the changes in family dynamics that happen all through the procedure of family-orientated treatment of families where sibling incest has happened. A step-by-step analysis of the developing family process in incest families amid treatment is given. The investigation initiates the nature of the primary pattern of family connections, investigates the effect made by emergency intercession on the family structure and after that frameworks treatment and end of treatment. Characteristics mechanisms in the family procedure amid treatment are portrayed. A point by point clinical case shows the essential remedial moves and the instruments included.
Introduction to Australia
The Commonwealth of Australia or Australia, as we all know it, is a continental country located in the Southern hemisphere between the Pacific and the Indian oceans. CITATION Twi16 l 1033 (Twidale, 2016) mentions that it is the biggest country and the smallest continent. Australia played a major role in the British’s decision to lessen the overcrowding of convicts in their prisons, which at the time were old ships. These old ships were called Hulks and were very unsanitary and deplorable. Instead of sentencing a convict to death, he or she was transported to Australia as a form of punishment CITATION Cri l 1033 (A The National Archives, n.d.). 1788 marked the start of penal colonies in Australia where convicts, their children, marines and their families settled down. Free settlers soon followed and benefited from the rural labor of the convicts. The convicts worked in a system whereby they were sent to work in the field they were skilled in. A part from these British colonies were there were Australian Aboriginals who lost their land to the British colonies. Fast track to the twentieth century are the events of the Forgotten Children,’ the Innocent Children, and forced adoption, which play a significant role in the history of sibling incest in Australia. The Forgotten Children are an estimated 500,000 children who were placed in out-of-home care or institutions where they faced emotional, physical, and or sexual abuse whilst in care CITATION All09 l 1033 (Alliance for Forgotten Australians, 2009). The Innocent Children are child migrants who also experienced institutions and out-of-home care under the same conditions as the forgotten children. Parents were forced to give up their child for adoption through the forced adoption practices.
In Australia the family structure focusing on families with children is as follows. According to data contained in the census taken in 2011, 36.7% represent couples with children who depend on them and 10.6% represent single-parent families with children who depend on them CITATION Aus16 l 1033 (Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2016). From 1976 to 2011 there was a 4.2% increase in single-parent families with dependent children, but an 11.7% decrease in couple families with dependent children. Also, intact families with children from 0-17 years from 2012-2013 was 73.5%, whereas single parent families with children in that same age range was the second highest at 19.3%. “Step and blended families accounted for less than 6.5% of all families” CITATION Aus16 l 1033 (Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2016). There was no indication as to whether Aboriginal families were included in the data provided.
Intrafamilial abuse are triggered by stressors faced by the parent or parents and family. Based on a research done by CITATION Ole10 l 1033 (Olesen, Macdonald, Raphael, & Butterworth, 2010), some of the adversities parents in Australia suffer, which affects child development are: 1. Psychological distress (mental health problems) if it hinders children from accessing social networks and services and parent-child relationships CITATION Dep07 l 1033 (Department of Human Services , 2007) CITATION Lan99 l 1033 (Lancaster, 1999). About 21.7-23.5% of the children lived with a parent with mental illness CITATION May05 l 1033 (Maybery, Reupert, Patrick, Goodyear, & Crase, 2005). 2. Financial hardship or material disadvantage, which is “linked to children’s physical and mental health as well as academic success” CITATION Bra02 l 1033 (Bradley & Corwyn, 2002) CITATION Bro97 l 1033 (Brooks-Gunn & Duncan, 1997) CITATION Cos97 l 1033 (Costello,, Farmer, Anglod, Burns, & Erkanli, 1997) CITATION Dun98 l 1033 (Duncan, Yeung, Brooks-Gunn, & Smith, 1998) CITATION McL96 l 1033 (McLeod & Shanahan, 1996). In 2001, 2002, and 2003 CITATION Scu05 l 1033 (Scutella & Smyth, 2005) estimated that 16.7, 18.8 and 14.5% respectively were Australian children 0-17 years who lived in homes “with income below the poverty line.” 3. Parental separation CITATION Rod96 l 1033 (Rodgers, 1996)- CITATION Ole10 l 1033 (Olesen, Macdonald, Raphael, & Butterworth, 2010) states that 15.3% of children lived with a single parent who was separated or divorced in 2005. This figure excludes those who were remarried. CITATION Sle93 l 1033 (Slee, 1993) recognized death along with parental separation. 4. Unemployment CITATION Chr94 l 1033 (Christoffersen, 1994) from which the child suffers depression, low self-esteem and substance abuse CITATION Ole10 l 1033 (Olesen, Macdonald, Raphael, & Butterworth, 2010). 5. “Childhood adversities ranging from parental separation to sexual abuse” CITATION Kes97 l 1033 (Kessler, Davis, & Kendler, 1997). 6. Death of a family member and financial hardship in the Aboriginal community CITATION Zub05 l 1033 (Zubrick, et al., 2005)
This paper discusses the issue of Intrafamilial abuse focusing on sibling incest in Australia. Intrafamilial abuse is “incest abuse within the family” CITATION Cro05 p 139 l 1033 (Crosson-Tower, 2014, 2010, 2008, 2005, p. 139). Thus, sibling incest is sexual abuse between siblings. There are two types of sibling incest mainly heterosexual abuse or brother-sister incest, which is most prevalent and homosexual abuse or brother-bother/sister-sister, which is second most prevalent. Unfortunately, there is little research material on homosexual incest, so heterosexual incest will be the point of focus for this paper. CITATION Caf05 l 1033 (Caffaro & Conn-Caffaro, 2005) CITATION Wel08 l 1033 (Welfare, 2008) observed that sibling incest is an underreported and hidden for of sexual abuse. Although it is not reported as much, it is said to “be five times more common than parental incest” CITATION Smi87 p 256 l 1033 (Smith & Israel, 1987, p. 256). Reasons why this form of abuse is under reported are the way sibling incest is perceived by the family, disclosure support is lacking, the way society sees sibling incest, and how abusive the abuse was. The following document examines aspects of heterosexual sibling incest such as the history, heterosexual sibling incest statement, understanding the problem, understanding the solution, the health and mental response of heterosexual sibling incest in Australia, and working in child protection ending with a conclusion.
History of Sibling Incest
Research data is limited on heterosexual sibling incest because of lack of disclosure and reporting CITATION Caf05 l 1033 (Caffaro & Conn-Caffaro, 2005) CITATION Car06 l 1033 (Carlson, Maciol, & Scheider, Sibling incest: Reports from forty-one survivors, 2006), therefore it is hard to determine its prevalence. According to CITATION Viz13 l 1033 (Vizard, 2013) sibling incest or any form of sexual behaviors involving siblings were not always seen as sexual abuse in our societies CITATION Col14 l 1033 (Collin-Vezina, et al., 2014). In fact, some parents do not show concern when they are made aware of such abuse because they see it as innocent sex play CITATION Har01 l 1033 (Hardy, 2001). This is one of the main reasons victims rarely disclose this form of abuse. Instead of sympathy they are faced with disbelief and disregard. There are many contributing factors for sibling abuse, but the one that stands out most is an unstable family system. The family dynamics that foster such sexual abuse are: physically absent but powerful father, emotionally distant single mother, isolated family, there are rigid boundaries the family and outsiders, but blurred boundaries among family members, inflexible and conventional gender role expectation, marital and family strife overdependence CITATION Har01 l 1033 (Hardy, 2001), parental display of excessive or repressed sexual behavior, harboring family secrets (for example, extramarital affair) CITATION Can92 l 1033 (Canavan, Meyer, & Higgs, 1992) CITATION Smi87 l 1033 (Smith & Israel, 1987), parental alcoholism and parental child abuse CITATION Bes82 l 1033 (Bess & Janssen, 1982) CITATION Joh88 l 1033 (Johnson, 1988) CITATION Wor95 l 1033 (Worlng, 1995). Some of the family dynamics are as a result of the treatment and care some parents received as children during the Forgotten Children, Innocent Children, and forced adoption. They react in ways like being emotionally distant, displaying excessive or repressed sexual behavior, consuming alcohol, etc. because they use them as coping mechanisms.
For the offender, the precipitating factors for sexually abusing his or her sibling include being physically (and sexually) abused CITATION Asc90 l 1033 (Ascherman & Safier, 1990). There is some research out there that proves although not with everyone, but victims turn to victimizers. The offender’s perception of his or her status in the family: privileged position with parent(s), no learned limits from neglectful parents, losing status in family due to remarriage CITATION Dig98 l 1033 (Digiorgio-Miller, 1998). It’s like a form of rebellion where the offenders take out his or her frustration on the victim. Also, the physical and emotional absences on the part of the parental figures (intensified mutual dependency and sexual acting out between siblings)CITATION Smi87 l 1033 (Smith & Israel, 1987), as well as being an older sibling usually a male who is placed in a position where he or she provides care for younger siblings CITATION Abr94 l 1033 (Abraham & Hoey, 1994)CITATION Can92 l 1033 (Canavan, Meyer, & Higgs, 1992) CITATION Dai89 l 1033 (Daie, Witzum, & Eleff, 1989) CITATION Wor95 l 1033 (Worlng, 1995).
Case Study Outline
This research paper concentrated on a contextual investigation of Australian families encountering sibling incest. Members included siblings from 6 to 13 years that were individuals from families managing the issue of sibling incest. The motivation behind this study was to manufacture comprehension of how families encounter sibling incest and its part in their families. Clinical information from treatment sessions was investigated to uncover that families understands the inbreeding in various ways including misuse as ordinary and manhandle as a misstep. Focal ideas that clarified how the families reacted to the kin interbreeding included (1) level of family attachment, (2) part of mystery, and (3) perspective of outside frameworks. The discoveries propose that treatment needs to incorporate an inside and out appraisal with respect to these issues.
Sibling Incest Statement
The population of interest is young boys/girls ages six to thirteen (6-13) who are identified as victims. From the age of six to thirteen, CITATION Dig98 l 1033 (Digiorgio-Miller, 1998) suggests that children are aware that the act is wrong and associate it with worthlessness, remorseful feelings, as well as feelings of uncleanliness. Teenagers also go through the same responsiveness as children between 6 and 13, but they experience sexual feelings connected to the abuse. They become confused and are affected by “related symptomology such as frigidity, or promiscuity” (Philadelphia Child Guidance, 1993) CITATION Dig98 l 1033 (Digiorgio-Miller, 1998). U.S. data collected from 2000-2007 through reported cases of sibling sexual abuse showed that most of the victims (82%) were under 13 and that 95% of offenders (male 92%) were older than their victims, female victims were involved in 71% of the incidents, and “the most common dyadic relationship was male abusive sibling and female victim” CITATION Kri11 l 1033 (Krienert & Walsh, 2011). There was also mention of homosexual sibling incest male on male, which was a quarter of the sample.
Awareness of sibling sexual abuse and a holistic treatment approach for the victim, offender, and family will decrease sibling incest. Sibling incest is very prevalent around the world although it is underreported due to the stigma, guilt and shame it comes with. It may be denied, ignored, or simply waved off as a normal part of child development, but it is not a benign issue. Sibling incest is associated with a number of psychological issues. The effects of sibling incest on a victim is perilous in that he or she suffers both long-term and short-term effects, which are passed on in intergenerational relationships. Another important fact is incest on a whole is a blaring indicator for unstable family systems. This means that other forms of abuse are present, coping skills are low, and members of the family may turn to delinquency or crime. The family members’ risk for failure at whatever they do increases. That includes school, jobs, businesses and relationships. Mental illnesses develop in such situations and without necessary interventions sufferers can become nuisances in their respective communities.
Understanding the Problem
The family has roles, legal rights and responsibilities to look after and care for each member. In terms of the child, the family is there to nurture the child’s sense of identity, whilst providing a safe stable environment to develop in along with support and guidance. Before the child becomes an adult, the family is liable for his or her actions because he or she is in their care. If the child is hurt or in danger it is the family’s responsibility to support and protect him or her. If resources are limited, then the family has a right to outsource help. Sometimes things do not always go as planned, for instance losing your job just after having a baby. It is the responsibility of the family members to provide support for that member until he or she gets back on his or her feet. A family is the closest thing to your reflection because they accept you for who you are and they know you inside out. Hence, the reason it can be so devastating to children when they are disregarded, denied or blamed when they disclose victimization. A child who is not supported in such a situation is left to deal with his or her internal conflicts alone. Since the trust between he or she and the family has broken he or she loses resources needed to cope and function normal. In an effort to continue functioning, that child will resort to coping measures that may affect them negatively. The parents or guardians has a responsibility to assume the rights of the child and make decisions on behalf of or for him or her. They have a legal right to be informed, right to counsel, a hearing, to confront, to examine and be given notice about what is happening to the child CITATION Cro05 l 1033 (Crosson-Tower, 2014, 2010, 2008, 2005).
Sibling incest can be explorative or exploitation. If it is explorative then the victim does not suffer any trauma, but once it becomes exploitive the victim suffers trauma CITATION Cro05 l 1033 (Crosson-Tower, 2014, 2010, 2008, 2005). Children’s psychological, mental and physical health depend on the type of family environment they grow up in. For example, children who grow up in a family with sexual abuse suffer a host of psychological issues that affect the way they perform in life. Children will adopt coping mechanisms such as cutting themselves, withdrawing from others, which is linked to antisocial behavior, drug misuse, or eating disorders. This can lead to poor educational achievement, depression, suicidal thoughts, and mental problems among other issues. If the child grows up in a positive family environment then he or she is better acclimated to succeeding in social, educational and psychological projects. The child would be optimistic rather than depressed and be more willing to take on challenges. There are a lot of ethical and moral concerns that children have to deal with on their own after being abused. With no moral support, the child suffers negative short and long-term psychological effects. It is hard to say which region has the lowest prevalence of sibling incest because not much information about this form of abuse exists.
Understanding the Solution
In Australia, mandatory reporting laws has been passed to report any form of child maltreatment by professionals and non-professionals who come in contact with children. Each state has its own limitations to the mandatory reporting law. For example, based on the jurisdiction the reporter should have a certain state of mind before reporting. This state of mind includes belief on reasonable ground, suspicion on reasonable ground, reasonable suspicion, or if the person knows. Another restriction determined by each jurisdiction is what type of child maltreatment is reported. Some make provisions for reporting only sexual abuse and others make provisions for reporting a combination of abuses against the child. Even further restrictions as to who has the right to report is made. Additionally, the mandatory reporting laws offer protection for reporters like safeguarding their identity and preventing liability in civil, criminal or administrative proceedings if the report was made in good faith CITATION CFC16 l 1033 (CFCA Resource Sheet, 2016). The age of the offender, and age difference in offender and victim have to be considered before punishing or rehabilitating. The age difference between the victim and offender will reveal or indicate whether the sexual relation was explorative in which case the case would not be taken further or exploitive. An exploitive sexual relation indicates the victim was sexually abused with the presence of coercion, threats, blackmail, or physical abuse. If the age difference is 2-3yrs or more the indication is higher, but that does not mean that same age exploitation does not exist.
The states in Australia developed laws to help protect children, define what children need to be protected, as well as guide the judicial system in treatment of offenders. The Australian Capital Territory has the Children and Young People Act 1999 and the Children and Young People Act 2008, New South Wales has the Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987 and the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998, Northern Territory has the Youth Justice Act 2005 and the Care and Protection of Children Act 2007, Queensland has the Juvenile Justice Act 1992 and the Child Protection Act 1999, South Australia has the Young Offenders Act 1993 and the Children’s Protection Act 1993, Tasmania has the Youth Justice Act 1997 and the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1997, Victoria has the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 and the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005, and Western Australia has the Young Offenders Act 1994 and the Children and Community Services Act 2004 CITATION Sta16 l 1033 (Stathopoulos, 2016)CITATION CFC161 l 1033 (CFCA Resource Sheet, 2016).
There are several avenues in place for reporting such cases whether you are a concerned person or mandated reporter. Certain departments handle child sexual abuse and maltreatment reports, there are hotlines, after-hour phone lines, separate phone lines for mandatory reporters, phone lines for concerned people, and electronic links to send in a report. Each state provides a website where more information can be sourced about mandatory reporting. I don’t agree fully with the way this situation is handled. I feel that more can be done to safeguard the victim from reoccurrences of trauma during the collection of data and investigation of incest. For example, the victim has to go through making a statement, recounting the details in court, and telling the medical examiner. Remembering the details of the abuse and telling it over and over is traumatic for the victim. Perhaps the victim can tell his or her story through a video and then answer additional questions on a computer or questionnaire. Retelling the story to different people can also be troubling for the victim.
The Health and Mental Response to Sibling incest in Australia
The sibling incest victim suffers a host of psychological impairments that are both short-term and long-term. Such psychological impairments include feeling confused and stigmatized CITATION Car06 l 1033 (Carlson, Maciol, & Scheider, Sibling incest: Reports from forty-one survivors, 2006), “feelings of fear, anger, shame, humiliation, guilt” CITATION Kis07 l 1033 (Kiselica & Morril-Richards, 2007), “trauma related sequels, internalizing and externalizing behaviors” CITATION Cyr02 l 1033 (Cyr, Wright, McDuff, & Perron, 2002), later in life sexual dysfunction and low self-esteem CITATION Lav92 l 1033 (Laviola, 1992), substance abuse and eating disorders CITATION Rud99 l 1033 (Rudd & Herzberger, 1999), anxiety, depression, and suicide CITATION Car11 l 1033 (Carlson, Sibling incest: Adjustment in adult women survivors, 2011). There are also reports of sibling incest causing behavioral changes because of the psychological effects of sibling incest. The way the victim is treated after disclosure can also have an effect on his or her psychological and mental health. The more exploitive the abuse was can lead to post traumatic stress disorder. Many of these symptoms and disorders lead to emotionally detached and neglectful parents. Some victims either continue being victimized, have many failed relationships and become victimizers. Treatment such as family therapy, holistic therapeutic intervention, counseling, preventative intervention, and support for the family exist to treat all members of the family. Targeted and trauma-specific interventions help the victim. They include Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy CITATION McL16 l 1033 (McLean, 2016). The Western Australian Aboriginals would benefit best from family therapeutic interventions as they are close knit and do everything in terms of the family. Of course, since sibling incest is said to be a byproduct of an unstable family system it is only fair to include the family in the treatment plan.
Working In Child Protection
The professionals working in child protection as it relates to sibling abuse in Australia are the police as investigators, human service professionals as counselors and referral coordinators, doctors as medical examiners, and psychiatrists and psychologists as the mental health assessors. Every professional who has a role to play in managing this issue have the responsibility to report and suspected maltreatment or abuse of a child they come in contact with whilst working. Each jurisdiction has a restriction on who a mandated reporter is, what their state of mind should be and what exactly they should report according to the law. Without these restrictions they are still required to report because of job policies. It is also each professional’s responsibility to educate his or herself about the issues surrounding sibling incest and what it entails to better help the victims and families.
Sibling incest is not an easy issue to deal with especially with the various factors that needs consideration, the family environment surrounding the occurrence of this issue, and the resources available to deal with it. In some parts of the world incest is legal whereas in Australia it is illegal. The family plays an important role in caring for a child before and after victimization so that proper psychological development can be facilitated. The likelihood of sibling incest happening is increased by an unstable family structure and unresolved traumas experienced in a parent’s childhood. In finding a way to treat this issue, the family needs to be involved in treatment interventions as well as the victim. Punishing the offender through legal means does nothing to help the problem or the victim, however, ensuring that offenders are treated along with the victim and other family members, the cycle can be stopped. More research has to take place to fully understand the scope of sibling incest in Australia. Due to the low incidence of disclosure after sibling incest it is hard to do research. If however, families are educated about the importance of supporting children in such times then victims will be more comfortable disclosing the abuse.
Due to lack of information surrounding how such cases are dealt with, it was difficult to come up with an analysis of child protection work in Australia. The fact that they do a lot of research in these areas and compare it to outside data shows that they are on the right path to improving the type of service they offer.
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