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Use of Peer Support for Parents and Youth Living With the Trauma of Child Sexual Abuse: An Innovative Approach

NCJ Number
Journal of Child Sexual Abuse Volume: 8 Issue: 2 Dated: 1999 Pages: 57-75
Ramona Alaggia Ph.D.; Joseph H. Michalski Ph.D.; Cathy Vine MSW
Robert Geffner Ph.D.
Date Published
19 pages
This article describes and reports on an innovative intervention program for parents of sexually abused children and youth.
The Peer Support Program (PSP), which is located in a large Canadian urban center, was designed to respond to victims and their families and address deficiencies in the system by making use of parents and youth who have been affected by the trauma of sexual abuse. Along with paid peer staff, volunteers provide additional instrumental supports. The program was created under the auspices of interagency collaboration, which has been found to be an effective means of delivering coordinated services to this population. The main PSP objective has been to complement and expand on the formal treatment service system through the use of peer-delivered interventions. This article describes the selection, training, and supervision of paid staff and volunteers; the individualized and family support offered to non-offending parents, youth, and children; parent and youth-led support groups; volunteer support services; and community development. The evaluation strategy reported was a non-experimental formative evaluation that consisted of three phases: preservice needs assessment that defined the program goals and objectives; a process evaluation that documented the steps in developing specific service components; and consumer feedback mechanisms. Evaluation findings show that the program does act as a needed complement to traditional services. 31 references