Sibling sexual abuse: A knowledge and practice overview

Year: 2021
Topic: Sexual abuse
Author: Peter Yates and Stuart Allardyce

This paper aims to provide an accessible resource to help professionals think through the issues and challenges raised by sibling sexual abuse. It presents an overview of the current research and practice knowledge and covers:

  • sexual behaviour between siblings
  • the scale and nature of sibling sexual abuse
  • the impact of sibling sexual abuse
  • professional responses to sibling sexual abuse
  • conclusions and reflections

It is written primarily for social workers and other professionals involved in safeguarding children, but it may be of interest to a wider group who find themselves working with families affected by sibling sexual abuse (e.g. teachers, mental health practitioners, foster carers, residential care workers). As sibling sexual abuse is rarely disclosed in childhood, this paper may be of use also to professionals working with adult survivors of sexual abuse.