Expert responds to reports of hidden child abuse in the British South Asian community

A child protection expert at the University has responded to reports of hidden child abuse in the British South Asian community.

In response to a news story today about hidden child abuse in the British South Asian community, Vanisha Jassal from the University’s Centre for Child Protection, said:

‘Sadly, this a topic about which practitioners and policy-makers know very little about, meaning children and young people remain at particularly high risk of continuous abuse.

‘I have been researching child sexual abuse within the British South Asian communities since 2017 and have interviewed female survivors of this abuse, as well as those supporting adult survivors.

‘All too often the terms ‘shame’, ‘honour’ and ‘patriarchy’ are among the most frequently cited terms in relation to the experience of abuse against South Asian women. This helps explain the number of low or no disclosures of abuse from women who may have experienced physical, emotional or sexual violence or abuse.  This also extends to child sexual abuse against girls.

‘My current research is providing a survivor-led perspective on exactly what role shame and honour and patriarchy plays and how we can look beyond these reported ‘barriers’ to provide the appropriate and necessary support and interventions to which these girls have a right.

‘Some cases have started to emerge in the public arena which allows for the necessary conversations to take place and help work towards an important journey ahead’.

Vanisha Jassal is Lecturer in Child Protection and Deputy Director of Studies at Kent’s Centre for Child Protection. She has several years’ experience in the field of child protection practice and has developed research interests in direct work with children and young people and how we can better understand their wishes and feelings. She is also interested in investigating inequalities and social disadvantage in child welfare and interventions and services for children and families from ethnic minority communities.

She is currently examining the relationship between shame and honour and intra-familial child sexual abuse of females within British South Asian families.