An account is given of the development of a treatment project for sexually abused children and their families. We review incidence data which indicate that sexual abuse of children is likely to be a far more frequent problem than has been recognised and cause an appreciable degree of psychological damage. Professional responses to this are confused and treatment facilities limited. Sexual abuse is seen as an expression of severe relationship problems in the family and therapeutic provision is made, therefore, not only for the abused child but for other members of the family (including both parents). The method adopted is to offer group therapy to the child, mother, and father and regular family meetings with professionals in the community, concerned with care and protection of children. Clinical data on the first 56 children treated are discussed and our approach to treatment is evaluated.
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