Edinburgh Research Explorer

Therapeutic interventions with child and adolescent survivors of sexual abuse: A critical narrative review

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
JournalChildren and youth services review
Early online date31 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


This is a narrative review of literature on therapeutic interventions with child and adolescent survivors of childhood sexual abuse (CSA). This is a step towards investigating the existing evidence-base for the therapeutic interventions, including various approaches to therapy and modalities, practiced by professionals with child and adolescent survivors of CSA. The key objective of this review was to examine treatment outcomes, established evidence-base and gaps in extant knowledge of different therapeutic interventions documented as being practiced within this population for CSA trauma. A number of individual studies, systematic reviews and meta-analyses were identified through a wide range of databases, including appropriate reference search. Findings reflected an absence of culturally-specific, clear guides to therapy for CSA survivors, particularly for child and adolescent survivors. Further, inconclusive, conflicting and contradictory evidence-base of therapeutic approaches, with limited scope and methodological flaws, was revealed. Based on these findings, it is argued that the factors that inform decisions regarding the therapeutic practice of practitioners, including mental health professionals, in real settings with child and adolescent survivors of CSA are not clearly defined and often take place in absence of a coherent and consistent evidence-base for existing therapeutic practices documented for CSA. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

    Research areas

  • child sexual abuse, therapeutic interventions, trauma treatment, cultural context, child and adolescent survivors of sexual abuse, evidence-base

ID: 120415470