“I felt like I was thrown into a deep well”: Educators coping with child sexual abuse disclosure

Dafna Tener, Laura Sigad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Children's educators are on the front line of child sexual abuse (CSA). By confronting cases in their everyday work in the school, they hold the potential to be agents of social change – to promote detection, disclosure and intervention. However, research on the experience of such educators contending with CSA is limited both conceptually and methodologically. The purpose of the present study was to describe and analyze the experiences of Israeli educators coping with CSA disclosure. The following research questions were explored: (1) How is CSA disclosure perceived and experienced by children's educators in their daily work? (2) How does CSA disclosure affect these educators in their professional and personal lives? The findings are based on semi-structured interviews conducted with 20 children's educators. Results indicate that their core experience is loneliness when facing the victim, when confronting his or her parents, when facing authority figures inside and outside of school, and when dealing with the effect on their personal lives. In coping with this loneliness, educators adopt three main styles: “lone rider” (self-coping); “layperson” (experiencing themselves as lacking the ability and knowledge to cope); and “buck-passer” (rapid shifting of responsibility). Implications for future research, policy, and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104465
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd


  • CSA disclosure
  • CSA interventions
  • Child sexual abuse (CSA)
  • Educators' experiences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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