Zobeida O. Eljaaly
Background: Child sexual abuse is a worldwide problem which carries a consequent mental and psychological hazards to the victims; no community is safe from its occurrence even in conservative ones; it is still concealed under a pile of ideas which are almost all conceptualized around stigmatization of disclosing it. Despite its importance, researches in this context still very scanty; and provided that the parents play an important role in prevention as well as dealing with the problem; therefore, the current study aimed at exploring knowledge, attitude and behaviour of the parents regarding prevention of child sexual abuse (CSA).
Subjects and methods: Using a cross sectional design, a random sample of parents attending primary health care centers in Jeddah city (n=400) was selected and they were inquired to be enrolled in the study by filling a predesigned self administered questionnaire which was adopted from a previously used valid and reliable questionnaire. One center was selected from each sector of the 4 sectors of PHC of MOH and the sample was equally allocated over the 4 centers. Accordingly, 100 respondents were enrolled from each center. Making a total of 400 respondents by using simple random sampling technique. Participants were selected from each PHC center by systematic random sampling method, by choosing every 3rd attendants who was requested to be included in the study. The first participant was chosen by simple random numbers.
Results: More than two thirds of the respondents were females (69%), the mean age of fathers (41.8+8.5 years) was higher than mothers (35.5+7.8 years); and more than one half of them have university qualifications (54.3%). The overall mean score reflecting knowledge of parents about CSA accounted for 5.0+1.6 out of ten; with no statistically significant differences. Most of the parents are willing to accept introduction of educational programs in schools about prevention of CSA, however still a considerable proportion (27.1%) afraid that these materials could expose children to more knowledge of sex. The great majority of the parents indicated that they talk with their children and give them advises that could protect them from CSA; however, almost one quarter of them (24.8%) disagree about providing children with audio-visual materials. Mothers, in particular issues were significantly more active in providing advises than fathers.
Conclusion and recommendations: Although that the parents exhibited acceptable level of knowledge and supportive attitude and active behavior towards CSA, still there are some issues that need to be clarified through multi-sectors intervention programs.