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Victims, Perpetrators, and Bystanders of Incest: Seeking Justice and Making Peace

McNally, Kathryn J
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Clinical Psychology, Antioch New England Graduate School, Antioch University, Keene, New Hampshire.

I discuss the literature on trauma and adult-child incest, with an emphasis on victims, perpetrators, and bystanders and their relationships to each other. I advance a view of morality which will form a foundation upon which I will construct a model for intervention which values justice, personal responsibility, human dignity, interconnectedness, optimism, and compassion. Concepts from peace psychology and procedures of The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa are presented as exemplars of and lessons in the application of the morality model. I present literature on interventions with victims of adult-child incest, particularly those that attend to stages of healing and the construction of meaning. I discuss literature on therapeutic jurisprudence, critiquing registration and notification laws and their impact on victims, perpetrators, and bystanders of adult-child incest, and examining the utility of selected principles of restorative justice. Finally, I present a treatment track model designed for use within the criminal justice system and recommend concurrent interventions with victims, perpetrators, victims and perpetrators together, and bystanders. This treatment track model is patterned on Healing Circles, which are innovations from restorative justice. The recommended concurrent interventions encompass criticisms and recommendations from the literature on peace psychology, therapeutic jurisprudence, forgiveness/unforgiveness, the Truth and Reconciliation process in South Africa, and theories of moral development. Author’s abstract.


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