Child Advocacy Center intervention with sibling sexual abuse cases: Cross-cultural comparison of professionals’ perspectives and experiences

Dafna Tener*, Abbie Newman, Peter Yates, Noam Tarshish

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: Despite being a complex phenomenon with potentially significant short- and long-term consequences for all involved including siblings, parents and the family as a whole, sibling sexual abuse (SSA) has not received sufficient empirical and clinical attention. Practitioners are often left to cope without appropriate guidance. Objective: This study aimed to compare staff perspectives and experiences of working with sibling sexual abuse cases across two Child Advocacy Centers (CACs) within different countries and different cultural and legal contexts. Participants and setting: Participants were staff members from two Child Advocacy Centers: one in Jerusalem, Israel, and the other in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, United States of America. Methods: This qualitative cross-cultural comparative study analyzes staff experiences of sibling sexual abuse cases based upon 14 focus groups, in Jerusalem (N = 7) and Montgomery County (N = 7). Results: Findings reveal that both CACs focused on parents, the parents’ negative emotional responses to SSA, and the impossible nature of their predicament. The Montgomery County CAC tended to emphasize the needs of the victim while being attuned to the legal proceedings, whereas the Jerusalem CAC emphasized supportive therapeutic responses for the whole family. Conclusions: The differences across the two Child Advocacy Centers are related to the different legal and cultural contexts of the two CACs and underscore the need to review what may be the most appropriate policy and practice response to SSA that does not itself cause further harm.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number104259
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
StatePublished - Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are thankful to our colleagues and team members at the Mission Kids and the Jerusalem Child Advocacy Centers, who provided expertise that greatly assisted the process, and generously shared wisdom and experiences with us during the course of this research. We are especially grateful at the JCAC to Shosh Turgeman, the former Director of the JCAC, and to Lee Levi, for their dedicated assistance in explaining and interpreting concepts and procedures, making them accessible to the reader; and at MKCAC to Elizabeth Evans for her patience in precise note taking and proof reading, and Leslie Slingsby, Executive Director, for her understanding of this emerging field, all of whom improved and enhanced this paper.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd


  • CAC intervention
  • Child sexual abuse
  • Child sexual abuse interventions
  • Child/youth with problematic sexual behaviors (PSB)
  • Cross cultural comparison
  • Sibling sexual abuse


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