'Letting you share when you need to share': navigating the potential and precarity of friends and peers for UK young people after sexual abuse in adolescence
AffiliationUniversity of Bedfordshire
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AbstractThis article explores the rarely considered role of friends and peers supporting young people after sexual abuse experienced in adolescence, drawing on participatory research with 32 young people in the UK with lived experience. The article considers ways in which relationships with friends and peers interplay with recovery from abuse. This includes friends and peers as recipients of disclosure, conduits to professional support, sources of emotional support and distraction, and embroiled in often challenging, precarious peer cultures that young people navigate post-abuse. The article explores young people’s rationale for, and experiences of, reaching out to friends and peers. It considers what young people seek and gain from these relationships in the aftermath of abuse, while acknowledging complex risks and precarity of these relationships. It argues that support from friends offers something distinct to family and professionals. It explores benefits of these relationships, but also potential for peer responses to undermine wellbeing if not sufficiently supportive or informed. The article ends by arguing for professionals to better recognise and respond to these relational contexts and consider whether there are safe and appropriate ways to ‘support young people to support’ without responsibilisation, and recognising welfare needs of those providing such support.
CitationWarrington C, Allnock D, Soares C, Beckett H (2022) ''Letting you share when you need to share': navigating the potential and precarity of friends and peers for UK young people after sexual abuse in adolescence ', Child Abuse Review, (), pp.-.
JournalChild Abuse Review
SponsorsNSPCC and ESRC grant
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- Creative Commons
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