Child sexual abuse (CSA) has grave implications for survivors, as well as repercussions for the survivors’ family members and professionals, such as teachers, who work with child survivors of sexual abuse.
As teachers are often key supportive figures for CSA survivors, the present study aims to contribute to the understanding of teachers’ experiences when working with students who have undergone CSA.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposeful sample of 31 elementary school teachers to illustrate how their basic world beliefs and professional functioning were altered by their encounters with CSA victims.
The qualitative thematic analysis indicated that teachers facing pupils who experienced CSA underwent a fracture in their basic beliefs about the safety of the children in their classrooms. The traumatic event elicited a reconstruction of their beliefs about CSA and their role as classroom leaders to meet the demands of the changed classroom environment.
The findings highlight the importance of accounting for the needs of teachers, as members of the school community, in responding to CSA. In addition, they suggest the importance of receiving transformative learning skills training to prepare teachers to handle the repercussions of CSA in their classrooms.