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English Abstracts: Child sexual abuse. Professionals in equine assisted therapy as potential contact persons for children who experienced sexual abuse

Marie Merschhemke, Dr. Simone Pülschen


Professionals in equine assisted therapy frequently work with clients belonging to (high-)risk groups, such as children / adolescents with physical or psychological impairments and social or domestic problems. Impairments and social or domestic problems increase the risk of general endangerment of a child’s well-being and in particular the risk of child sexual abuse. With the emergence of trust relationships during equine assisted therapy, professionals become potential contacts for children who have become victims of sexual violence. In addition, the close contact between professionals and clients may give rise to suspicions of sexual abuse when dealing with a child. This paper proposes a framework of relevant theoretical knowledge for professionals in equine assisted therapy working with children and adolescents. It discusses terminology and prevalences of child sexual abuse and outlines how professionals can offer talks and present themselves as a person of trust.