The issue being studied is the impact that incest can have on a child, and the problems the family may experience. This is a problem because when incest occurs, it not only affects the child, but it affects the entire family unit. Cole and Putnam (1992) states, "Victims experience depression, guilt, learning difficulties, sexual acting out, running away, somatic complaints (such as headaches and stomachaches), hysterical seizures, phobias and nightmares, compulsive rituals, self-destructive behaviors, and suicide Certain members of the family can begin to lay blame on the abused child for bringing problems into the family. Incest is an issue families will need to handle carefully and try to understand that being a supportive family/parent will help the sexually abused child cope with their traumatic situation. .
The problems with incest are relevant to the field of social work. Social workers involved in the area of child welfare would need to understand and empathize with these children and their families. It is essential for social workers to realize the pain of the child who is unable or unwilling to disclose the experience. Once the child discloses the information on the story, the journey becomes even harder. This is the reason that appropriate methods in counseling families that have the desire to keep the family unit together are very important. .
The research question we hope to answer is: Can families who have experienced incest cope and have the ability to overcome the occurrence and continue to live together as a normal and loving family?.
Hypothesis 1: Families will not be able to cope with the incident of incest because too much tension will exist between the abuser and the abused. .
Hypothesis 2: The family and the abused child will forgive the abuser and resume to their normal life. .
Hypothesis 3: The abused child will resent the entire family for not accepting the truth and allowing the abuser to remain in the household.