Father Phil, a parish priest, sexually abused 12 year-old Alex. This story shows how the abuse affected Alex and his family. The effects included Alex's bullying of his younger sister Nora. When he told his parents about the abuse, they were shocked and upset. They did right by Alex and Nora-and themselves. The family showed the courage involved when people face their fears and work with professionals who are supportive and competent. Unfortunately, many survivors do t receive the strong family & professional support that Alex experienced. This story sets a standard for competences in parental and professional responses.
Jane F. Gilgun, PhD, LICSW, is a professor, School of Social Work, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, USA. Professor Gilgun has done interview research on child sexual abuse for many years.