Child Maltreatment, 10 1 , Children face many barriers when reporting sexual abuse, but there also are unique barriers that affect the ability of children in undocumented populations to report the abuse. Fueled by a demand for prostitution and pornography, an untold number of children are trafficked and illegally smuggled into the United States from south of the border each year.
Culturally competent practice develops over time and is increased through experience with members of a cultural group. Child Maltreatment, 10 1 , Narrative therapy is a particularly useful framework when working through trauma associated with sexual abuse in a culturally sensitive way. This is the case for thousands of young boys and girls who cross into the United States each year. These threats can be effective in protecting the abuser because the child may fear the negative consequences for the entire family if he or she reports the sexual abuse. Additional obstacles to reporting abuse include social and cultural barriers, a limited understanding of the legal system, and limited access to public facilities where reporting may take place, such as medical facilities and schools. Language may be the first and most critical barrier for those in need of child protection services. In this type of offense, commonly referred to as statutory rape, lack of consent is presumed where there is sexual intercourse with a minor under the age of consent specified in the statute. As an initial step, social workers should bridge the gap by placing bilingual helping professionals in diverse population centers where children and their families can feel more comfortable communicating their needs. Understand Culture Becoming a culturally competent practitioner requires more than a basic understanding of Mexican food and the Spanish language. Latino families have many strengths, and even the strength it takes to illegally cross the border into the United States is a motivating factor that can be utilized when working with the family and child involved in a sexual abuse case. Sexual abuse is difficult to identify because it often goes unreported and unseen. Retrieved January 2, , from http: Child sexual abuse consequences in community samples of Latino and European American adolescents. Latino families also should be educated about their legal rights and child protection issues. However, families had learned from experience that any involvement in government services, and especially police matters, were a potential threat to the family remaining in the United States. Increased Demand As the undocumented immigrant population and the Latino population in general continue to increase, there inevitably will be an increased demand for competent social workers to work with children and adolescents who have experienced sexual abuse. The topic of childhood sexual abuse can be an especially sensitive area when a practitioner is struggling to grasp the unique cultural attributes of the Latino immigrant population. This approach is essential when working with Latino survivors because they will be able to draw on their own cultural experience as they explore what the sexual abuse means to them and work through recovery with the aid of a trained professional. As the undocumented immigrant and the Latino populations both continue to grow, there inevitably will be an increased demand for social workers to intervene with children and adolescents who have experienced sexual abuse. An earlier Ninth Circuit decision examined this same statue and reached the opposite conclusion. Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends. Another way to build trust is to increase communication by using bilingual social workers and translators with Spanish-speaking families. Fueled by a demand for prostitution and pornography, an untold number of children are trafficked and illegally smuggled into the United States from south of the border each year. In the case of working with Latino families, cultural competence can be demonstrated by showing respect to family members because cultural values of shame, importance of family bonding familismo , and themes related to respect and family honor respecto may affect the likelihood that the family will report sexual abuse. Children illegally immigrating into the United States are at increased risk of sexual abuse for various reasons, such as traveling alone without a trusted guardian or falling victim to human traffickers.
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