Modesty, religion, and community: Therapists' perspectives regarding the treatment of child sexual abuse in the ultra-orthodox community

Netanel Gemara, Maggi Sharabani, Nili Rozenfeld-Tzafar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Religion is a significant cultural component that impacts child sexual abuse (CSA) in various ways, including its definition, perception, and treatment. This study focuses on the Jewish ultra-Orthodox community in Israel, a strictly religious, segregated, and close-knit community with unique cultural practices and beliefs that impact children's safety and vulnerability to CSA. Objective: This qualitative study aimed to explore therapists' perceptions and ascribed meanings of CSA treatment within the ultra-Orthodox community. Participants and setting: Thirty in-depth interviews were conducted with therapists working with the ultra-Orthodox community in Israel. Methods: The interviews were analyzed using thematic qualitative analysis. Results: Three central axes pertinent to the treatment of CSA in the ultra-Orthodox community were discovered: 1) religious interventions, 2) modest approach, relating to the community's taboo attitude towards sexuality; and 3) the collectivistic nature of the community. The results include specific effect sizes and their statistical significance. Conclusions: The discussion explores the findings in light of the literature on CSA among religious minority communities and connects them to the unique underlying perception of sexuality in the ultra-Orthodox community. Specific ramifications and recommendations for practice are then considered, alongside the limitations and directions for future study.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106602
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Early online date8 Jan 2024
StatePublished - Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Elsevier Ltd


  • Child sexual abuse
  • Context-informed perspective
  • Jewish ultra-Orthodox
  • Religion
  • Risk and protection of children

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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