Walks and Thoughts

of Michael Simes

An old Man's Tale:



West Vale

Clay House


Cragg Vale



Pecket Well

Luddenden Dean

Jerusalem Farm

Catherine Slack

Stone Chair

It's Just Like Home:

Hong Kong





Marlborough Sounds


Milford Sound



Blue Mountains

Northern Beaches


A City Of Revolution:




Notre Dame

The Adult Legacy Of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Individual Therapy With Adult Mental Health

Referrals Where CSA Is The Key Factor

Dick Agass And Mike Simes

All the signs are that the problem of childhood sexual abuse will continue to grow. For those of us working primarily with adults it will come increasingly to the fore as more and more sufferers of past abuse feel able to seek help for its long-term effects. As the extent of ritual abuse is uncovered it is likely that new constellations of symptoms will begin to emerge amongst adult survivors (Young et aI, 1991). Social workers have a major contribution to make to this whole area of work, not just at the childhood end of the process where they have traditionally been in the front line, but also at this later stage of adult disclosure. Working with adult survivors of abuse is becoming a 'normal' feature of social work caseloads. However, there is something quite uniquely demanding about this work, and in order to do it at all workers must be prepared to face not only the pain in their clients but also areas of disturbance in their own personal lives. They will need to work on their own self-awareness and personal development. In addition they will need to sharpen their assessment skills in order to decide whether to take (or keep) a particuIarcase themselves or whether to refer elsewhere. The best environment for such decisions is that of a social work or multi-disciplinary team with a degree of collective experience and expertise, and a commitment to specialised training, skilled supervision and mutual support. Anything less risks further damaging our already damaged clients as well as damaging ourselves.

This article is dedicated to Margaret Peddie, who unwittingly inspired it. We wish her a long and happy retirement.

We are indebted above all to 'Helen' and 'Christopher' for the use of their personal material, and for their honest and illuminating comments. Our thanks also to members of the High Royds social work team - Irene Lindsay, Margaret Peddie, Andy Atkins and Peter Gilroy - for their invaluable help. The manuscript was also read by Carol Hayward (Bradford Social Services) and Helga Hanks (Principal Clinical Psychologist, StJames's Hospital, Leeds) who made many constructive suggestions. Finally, Carolyn Simes and Fiona Agass were uniquely placed to offer sharp and challenging observations, and much more besides.