The Nature of Counselling Offered to Sexually Abused Children in Selected Victim Support Units in Lusaka District,Zambia

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Matafwali, Marien
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University of Zambia
The problem for this study emerged from the fact that little was known on the nature of counselling offered to sexually abused children in Victim Support Units. The study therefore, focused on four objectives namely: to investigate the nature of counselling services offered to sexually abused children, explore the level of training in counselling of VSU officers, determine the benefits of counselling to sexually abused children and, to investigate the challenges faced in the provision of counselling. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used. A case study design was employed. Data was collected using: interviews, focused group discussion, questionnaire and non- participant observations. The sample comprised of 100 participants: 8 were VSU supervisors, 30 VSU counselors who were purposively selected, 31 sexually abused children and 31 parents/care givers who were selected and traced using purposive as well as snow ball sampling. The findings of this study elucidated that, in spite of VSU being given the mandate to provide counselling to sexually abused children, majority of sexually abused children did not receive counselling. The level of professional training in counselling of VSU officers was found to be inadequate, majority (24) of VSU counsellors had only certificates of attendance which were awarded to them after attending workshops. Furthermore, the study revealed that all categories of respondents were facing various challenges which included unsuitable and inadequate rooms for counselling, children being counselled in the presence of other people, fear of the police by children and lack of trust in the police by some parents/care givers. The study recommended that, the Zambia Police through VSU should implement the following: child counselling training to be provided to all VSU officers, increased access to counselling facilities and psycho-social services for children, strengthening of community sensitization programmes on CSA and enhanced partnership with key stake holders in CSA to increase accessibility of various services.
Sexually abused children--Counseling of--Zambia , Sexually abused children--Services for--Zambia , Adult child sexual abuse victims--Counseling of--Zambia