Why are they not talking ? An empirical study on self-disclosure of child sexual abuse from sociocultural perspective

Stream: Chinese social policy: families and children
Date: Tuesday, 10 September 2019
Time: 1.35 pm – 3.15 pm


One of the most important aspects regrading to the actual reporting of Child sexual abuse (CSA) is the disclosure rate. Although the incidence of CSA is high in China, most of them are undetected. In order to provide better social support for sexually abused children, this research aims to explore children's self-disclosure of CSA in Chinese cultural context.

In this paper, 126 CSA victims’ anonymous online statements (online posts) were selected. Mixed methods were used. Firstly, the information of the victims and the perpetrators in the 126 statements were analyzed quantitatively in terms of gender, age, relationship and severity of the CSA. Then, details of the disclosure content were analyzed by using Nvivo.

These findings showed the reasons for the victims' concealment of CSA, and the situations some of them faced after the disclosure of CSA. Five inhibit factors for Chinese children's self-disclosure of CSA were emerged, (1).Children and their families are severely lacking of sexual knowledge ; (2) Children’s fear of retribution, involving family members and potential dissolution of kinship relations; (3) Children’s shame from sociocultural stigmatization of sexuality (4) lack of support or opportunity; (5) Negative feedback from children’s disclosure attempt.

By using the social-cultural perspective, this paper discusses the influence of Chinese clan culture, kinship system, and traditional patriarchal consciousness on Chinese children's individual choice of disclosure and family stress behaviors in facing traumatic CSA events. The implications on protecting children from further harm and promoting an effective child protection system are also discussed.


Tian Tian (Presenter), East China University of Science and Technology
Tian Tian was graduated from University of York with research topic social construction of child abuse in China, and She is currently working in the East China University of Science and Technology, and she is responsible for the Chinese social work Longitudinal Study Project . Her recent research is focused on child sexual abuse and child and family social work professionalization in China.

Xiaoyuan Shang, Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Sydney
Xiaoyuan Shang is an Associate Professor with the Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW. Her research interests are in the areas of social welfare and child protection in China. Her recent research has focused on issues associated with the alleviation of poverty, social services for vulnerable groups including the elderly, disabled people and vulnerable children in China.