Growing evidence suggests that young migrants are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence. As young migrants often lack family and social networks, professionals are often the recipients of disclosures of sexual violence. This study aimed to explore how professionals experience young migrants’ disclosures of sexual violence. A qualitative design was used, based on 14 semi-structured interviews with a range of professionals from the public sector and civil society in southern Sweden. The data were analysed using qualitative content analysis. The overarching theme developed was ‘coming across the hidden problem of sexual violence in an excluded population’ supported by three sub-themes: ‘linking structural marginalisation and vulnerability to sexual violence’; ‘realising that sexual violence is one among many other concerns’; and ‘taking pride in backing up young people betrayed by society’. Professionals expressed a strong sense of responsibility due to the complex vulnerabilities of young migrants and their lack of access to services. This, coupled with the lack of clarity about how to respond to disclosures of sexual violence, can lead to moral distress. There is a need to strengthen support for professionals, including recognition of ethical dilemmas and the establishment of formal connections between organisations making access more straightforward and predictable.
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Social Work