Uncovering Pathways and Processes of Sexual Abuse

Principal Investigator: 

Delphine Collin-Vézina


 Dr. Ramona Alaggia, Associate Professor, University of Toronto; Dr. Martine Hebert, Full Professor, Université du Québec à Montréal; Dr. Julia Krane, Associate Professor, McGill University; Dr. Heather MacIntosh, Assistant Professor, McGill University; Dr. Rosaleen McElvaney, Lecturer, Dublin City University; Dr. Julie Maheux, Assistant Professor, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières

Funding Source:  

SSHRC Insight Grant


2014 - ongoing


Although the taboo of sexual abuse might not be as prominent as a few decades ago when it was rarely spoken of, veiled issues may still prevent victims from reaching out to authorities to reveal the abuse they suffer. The small body of existing research on sexual abuse disclosure pathways rests largely on retrospective studies with adult survivors. This study aims to explore sexual abuse disclosure processes as experienced by young people. Through qualitative interviews with youth, we are specifically exploring four key questions with regards sexual abuse disclosure: (1) What are the factors that impede or facilitate both informal and formal sexual abuse disclosures? (2) What are the perceived and actual outcomes of telling, and what are the youth’s perspectives on the legal and social systems involved following their disclosure? (3) Can the legal and social actions that follow disclosure of sexual abuse reduce the risk of further victimizations in adolescence? (4) To what extent are the youth’s experiences of discontinuous memories and capacities to reflect and mentalize influencing patterns of disclosures?

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