University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Sexual Aggression
Early online date4 Sep 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Sep 2019


The importance of the involvement of parents in treatment approaches for children and young people who have engaged in harmful sexual behaviour (HSB) has been consistently highlighted within the literature. Despite this, very little is known about their lived experiences of their relationship with their child following HSB and their representations of meaning remain largely unexplored. Semi-structured interviews with six parents were conducted to address this gap in the literature. Interviews were examined using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), resulting in five main themes; Feelings evoked: “it’s disturbing to be honest”; Searching for meaning: “where is this coming from?”; Child’s identity as fragmented: “you never knew what you got”; Wanting distance: “I just couldn’t bear to be around him”; and Moving forwards; “I gave him a cuddle”. Policy and clinical practice implications are discussed including the importance of systemic approaches to intervention.


© 2019 National Organisation for the Treatment of Abusers

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