Growing Up Under a Shadow: Key Issues in Research on and Treatment of Children Born of Rape

Children born of wartime rape are particularly vulnerable and their case is complex as their needs intertwine with the needs of their mothers or their cultural community. To analyse the status of children born of rape and identify both risk factors and key issues, a systematic search among medical and psychological research articles was performed. In addition, historical, sociological and human rights literature was explored. Risk factors for the wellbeing of children born of rape are: pregnancy and delivery, poor parent-child relationships, discrimination and stigmatisation, and identity issues. Three key issues which should direct research and clinical practice are formulated: perceiving children born of rape as secondary rape victims, the existence of multiple perpetrators, and competing rights and interests. To assist children born of rape, clinicians, as well as researchers, are confronted with the challenge to develop a comprehensive perspective that considers the needs and rights of both children and mothers.

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