Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Child Sexual Abuse and Incest: Culturally Sensitive Community-Based Intervention

Prof. Haya Itzhaky, Dr Alan York.

The primary aim of this paper is to examine the effectiveness of a community-based intervention in the case of child sexual abuse. The paper describes and analyses an actual case in a small urban community in Israel. The community described has several cultural characteristics that diversify it from similar communities in Israel. After several incidents of child sexual abuse, much of it incestuous, were brought to light in the community, they were discussed openly, contained, and punished. A culturally sensitive community campaign, in which community activists as well as all the service providers were involved, was organized by community social workers. Individual, group, and community interventions were used. The continuation of the abuse has been checked, and, so far, there is no evidence to suggest its resurgence. Community apathy to child sexual abuse seems to have been halted and reversed. The involvement of community residents, particularly the activists, has increased, and this appears to be the major factor in changed community cultural norms toward child sexual abuse.


Prof. Haya Itzhaky  (Israel)
School of Social Work
Bar Ilan University

Lecturer, teacher, researcher, consultant and practitioner in the field of community social work. Head of the School of Social Work, Bar-Ilan University, Israel. Current chairperson of the Israeli Council of Schools of Social Work. Main fields of research: empowerment, supervision, work roles and community social work.

Dr Alan York  (Israel)
Senior Lecturer
School of Social Work
Bar-Ilan University

Lecturer, researcher, teacher, consultant and practitioner in community social work since 1963. Formerly Director of School of Social Work, Bar-Ilan University, and Chairperson of Israel Council of Social Workers. Fields of interest: voluntarism, participation and empowerment.

  • Child abuse
  • Incest
  • Child maltreatment
  • Community-based programmes
  • Prevention,
  • Community organization
  • Cultural sensitivity
  • Cultural diversity

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)