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Perceptions of social support by the Non Offending Caregiver

Suzanne N. Magnuson, MS1, Connie N. Carnes, MS2, Amy L. Shadoin, PhD3, Mary Laska, PhD4, and Joy Wagoner, MSW4. (1) Research Coordinator, National Children's Advocacy Center, 210 Pratt Avenue, Huntsville, AL 35801, 256-327-3798, smagnuson@nationalcac.org, (2) Executive Director, National Children's Advocacy Center, 210 Pratt Avenue, Huntsville, AL 35801, (3) Research Officer, National Children's Advocacy Center, 210 Pratt Avenue, Huntsville, AL 35801, (4) Research Department, National Children's Advocacy Center, 210 Pratt Avenue, Huntsville, AL 35801

Perceptions of Social Support by the Non-Offending Caregiver

Recent research on psychosocial adjustment following a sexual abuse incident suggests that parental support is associated with better emotional and behavioral outcomes for children (Elliot & Carnes, 2001). Although many non-offending caregivers (NOC) respond to their child in a supportive manner following disclosure of abuse, it is commonly noted within the child abuse literature that parental support may be inconsistent or ambivalent due in part to the level of distress experienced by the parent. Therefore, many child abuse experts recommend intervention efforts for the child that includes support and assistance for the non-offending caregiver.

The Family Advocate (FA) program, an early intervention model of caregiver support developed by the National Childrenís Advocacy Center (NCAC), serves NOCs of children in cases where sexual abuse or severe physical abuse has been substantiated. The program addresses the needs of the NOC as a means of strengthening existing caregiver support and providing additional support to the child.

The results from questionnaires and follow-up focus groups on the FA program demonstrated that NOCs report a high incidence of abuse while simultaneously reporting high levels of social and family support. NOCís history of abuse, relationships to perpetrator, and perceptions of social and family support were examined. The implications of these findings for research on the NOCs interpretation of social and family support are discussed. This session should particularly benefit victim advocates, multidisciplinary team members and allied professionals.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Self-sufficiency and Empowerment, Vulnerable Populations

Related Web page: www.ncac.org

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: National Children's Advocacy's Center Family Advocate model.
I have a significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
Relationship: employment

Maternal, Child, and Family Health

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA