Supporting children and adolescents who have experienced sexual abuse to access services: community health workers’ experiences in Kenya

Gatuguta, Anne, Colombini, Manuela, Seeley, Janet, Soremekun, Seyi and Devries, Karen (2019) Supporting children and adolescents who have experienced sexual abuse to access services: community health workers’ experiences in Kenya. Child Abuse & Neglect. a104244. ISSN 0145-2134

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Abstract

Child sexual abuse (CSA) is a global health problem with significant health consequences. The World Health Organization recommends immediate and long-term treatment for all survivors. However, in low- and middle-income countries, less than 10 % of sexually abused children seek health services. Community health workers (CHWs) can potentially increase uptake of services, but, the risks and benefits of services provided by CHWs are poorly understood. Methods: Through in-depth interviews, we examined the experiences of CHWs providing services to children in Kenya. Sixteen CHWs were purposively selected from two locations. Data were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically. Findings: Nearly all the CHWs reported assisting children who had experienced sexual abuse. Children were brought to their attention by caregivers, neighbours, teachers, local authorities or the police. CHWs roles included providing information and advice, assisting the child to report to the police, access healthcare or find shelter. Multiple challenges were reported including lack of support from formal institutions; community norms; safety concerns; inadequate resources and interference from family, perpetrators and local authorities. Lack of protocols and training on how to handle children was evident. Conclusions: CHWs are a crucial community-level resource for CSA survivors and their caregivers. However, community norms, lack of guidelines and training may compromise the quality of services provided. There is a significant gap in literature on service models for CHWs delivering CSA services. Data are lacking on what services CHWs can effectively offer, how they should be delivered and what factors may influence delivery, acceptance and uptake of services.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Brighton and Sussex Medical School
Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Global Health and Infection
Research Centres and Groups: Brighton and Sussex Centre for Global Health Research
Subjects: R Medicine
Depositing User: Deborah Miller
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2020 08:07
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2020 16:16
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/89129

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