A woman whose stepfather was cleared of sexually abusing her as a child killed herself three years after he was acquitted. Her mother Judith Parkin told the inquest Ms. Crew “never fully recovered from the feeling of injustice” following her stepfather’s trial. A jury found church organist Nigel Parkin, 60, not guilty of eight rape charges and two of indecent assault in 2012. The church organist had been accused of repeatedly raping Ms. Crew over seven years from the age of nine and allegedly indecently assaulting another girl on two occasions. But he denied the charges and was cleared after he said both victims were suffering from poor mental health.
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Sexual abuse and Domestic Violence
Sexually abused children, most commonly father/daughter incest, may be sanctioned in some violent families. The female spouse may be aware of the incestuous activity but does not intervene in order to avoid retaliatory violence to herself or unwanted sexual demands. A spouse may also not be aware of the sexual abuse because of her own preoccupation with survival and safety from her spouse’s violence. Because of a sense of guilt, responsibility, fear and confusion, the child may not reveal the incest for a long time.
Sexual abuse is the most concealed, most distressful, and most controversial form of child abuse and occurs far more often than is generally believed.
- The majority of child victims are molested by a family member or someone known to the child.
- The child may be approached sexually at any age and the sexual contact may be once or repeated over a period of time.
- The child has been taught to respect and obey adults and therefore may have readily submitted to the known authority figures. The child may therefore be unclear about whether or not the act is wrong or unusual.
- The inherent reluctance of a child to challenge adult authority and the possibility of retaliation may result in the child’s ambivalence about reporting the abuse, and later changing the report.
- Although studies indicate that most child victims of sexual abuse are female and most offenders are male, it should be noted that boy victims are relatively common and may suffer more neglect from lack of effective intervention than female victims.
Remember that history and description of family interaction are the most important determinants of sexual abuse since there are often no visible signs of the abuse. Other family members (non-participative parent and siblings) frequently will deny the child’s report and become extremely abusive and rejective toward the child who is revealing the “family secret”.
Read here for more information on what to look for in identifying a sexually abused child.