Research-Practice Relationship: The Case of Studying Sibling Sexual Abuse

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The research-practice relationship enables practitioners and non-academic researchers to contribute in creating knowledge and form partnerships with academic researchers. Despite the availability of conceptual frameworks and literature describing relations between researchers and practitioners in several disciplines, including social work, descriptions of the inner workings of these relations in the area of child sexual abuse are lacking. The present article presents such a relationship between researchers from a school of social work and practitioners from a Child Advocacy Centre (CAC) in Israel, in the specific context of studying sibling sexual abuse (SSA). It highlights the unique aspects of the relationship and analyses its development based on the first three stages proposed by Jones and Sherr. Specifically, (i) the practitioners-as-subjects stage, characterised by researched dominance, focused on document analysis of SSA cases; (ii) the engaged research stage, characterised by rapport between the two parties, developed in focus groups with CAC staff and (iii) the practitioner-involved research, characterised by joint creative work, included co-authoring a booklet for professionals dealing with sexual abuse cases. The article concludes with a discussion of the necessary conditions for and benefits of forming such relationships in the context of studying complex phenomena such as SSA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1526-1543
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The British Association of Social Workers. All rights reserved.


  • child sexual abuse
  • community-engaged research
  • research-practice relationships
  • sibling sexual abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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