Silentinjuries™ Questionnaire

Silentinjuries™ Questionnaire
Silentinjuries™ Questionnaire
 The Silentinjuries™ Questionnaire can help a primary responder to sexual crimes against children clarify professional and social adjustment challenges following exposure to social-sexual deviance. The item structure enables data collection related to five different realms. The content areas are as follows.

  1. One’s knowledge about social-sexual deviance and subsequent traumatic injuries.
  2. One’s exposure to social-sexual deviance.
  3. The presence of factors that can increase traumatic injury risk.
  4. One’s present day vulnerability to sensory stimulated intrusive memories.
  5. One’s cognitive, emotional, social and sexual injuries.

Civic Research Institute published the three-part article, “Silent Injuries Among Child Sexual Abuse Professionals” in, Crime Victims Report, Volume 13, Nos. 2, 3, and 4 (May-June 2009; Jul7-Aug 2009; and Sept-Oct 2009) Read Article

Theoretical Underpinnings
 As a diverse professional grouping, CSA professionals unify their professional training to identify, confront, and a dark side of humanity (1). This dark side is the child sexual abuser’s social-sexual deviance. Social deviance is the sequence of thoughts and behaviors one uses to target knowingly, cause injury and conceal the abuse (2) (3) (4) (5). Sexual deviance is sexual behavior for which there is a legal, cultural and clinical concern, such as child molestation, rape, exhibitionism, and lust murder (3). Together, the child sexual abuser’s social-sexual deviance forms a psychological toxin (6). Exposure to the toxin predictably deposits traumatic sediments that can disturb a professional’s social and professional adjustment. The injuries CSA professionals incur parallel the injuries observed among the children the social-sexual deviant targets. Aggravating the core exposure injuries are three factors.

  1. Activating unresolved personal abuse memories or personal biases(7).
  2. Administrative policies and practices are causing a poor fit between the professional’s expectations and the work environment(8).
  3. Problematic self-care practices are contributing to health problems.

The language used to describe professionals, whose healthy core is entombed by sequential horizontal traumatic deposits, is akin to the symptom criterion used to diagnose Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Learn More

Item Development
Modifying The Sexual Trauma Inventory (9) enabled investigating the relationship between a child sexual abuse professional’s exposure to social-sexual deviance and subsequent cognitive, emotional, social, and sexual injuries (Silentinjuries). Two underlying constructs guided the modification.

  1. Social-sexual deviance is measurable.
  2. Exposure to social-sexual deviance is toxic.

The Silentinjuries Questionnaire preliminary findings stimulated considerable discussion at Arizona’s First Annual Sexual Assault Conference, Phoenix, Arizona (November, 2000). Notably, the observations showed a CSA professional’s exposure to social-sexual deviance is measurable, the exposure is toxic and predictable best characterizes the subsequent disruptions to their healthy personal and professional adjustment. Today, it is a teaching aid to developing curriculum for child sexual abuse professionals attending Advanced Forensic Interview Training seminars sponsored by Prevent Child Abuse Arizona and the Arizona Governor’s Office for Children. Since 2000, diverse state, provincial, and national organizations are among the Silentinjuries seminar recipients.

Pre-Case Assignment Training
Does it make a difference how a CSA professional learned about social-sexual deviants and their trauma pool? Yes. This professional developmental issue parallels the child developmental issue of learning about human sexuality. In both instances, it is problematic to learn about the topical area from a social-sexual deviant.
Only a small majority of CSA professionals (54.4%) report they received child sexual abuse training prior to receiving their first case assignment. Among the Silentinjuries™ Questionnaire respondents, this observation is unchanged across time. Professionals beginning their careers ten or more years ago reported receiving specialized training at (55.9%) or about the same rate (58%) as professionals who started their careers within the past twelve months. The most notable exception to this is Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE). The later professional grouping sanely provided specialized training to almost 70% of their colleagues prior to assigning a case.
Pre-case assignment training appears to inoculate CSA professionals in two critical ways. One is lowering a professional’s risk to attribute child molesting behavior to factors other than a child sexual interest. A second significant difference is attributing disruptions to adjustment to deviance exposure rather than questioning one’s sensitivity.
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