Ramona Alaggia

Ramona Alaggia
University of Toronto | U of T · Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work

M.S.W., Ph.D.

About

68
Publications
39,552
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2,162
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Introduction
Actively engaged in research and clinical practice in child and youth mental health -trauma and resilience. Clinical practice in working with trauma survivors. Research focus is currently on children exposed to intimate partner violence, mental health consequences and resilience. Conducting program evaluation in community based agencies to support evidence informed practices.

Publications

Publications (68)
Article
Full-text available
Child sexual abuse (CSA) has been described as a highly stigmatizing experience. Despite the recognition of shame as a significant contributor to psychological distress following CSA, an inhibitor of CSA disclosure, and a challenging emotion to overcome in therapy, limited research has explored the experience of shame with young people who have bee...
Article
Full-text available
The need for helping professionals to provide services from a trauma-informed perspective has been receiving increasing attention. The primary goal of adopting a trauma-informed approach is to prevent inadvertent re-traumatization during service provision, and to ensure people receive appropriate services in a non-pathologizing manner. However, des...
Article
The COVID-19 worldwide pandemic has forced individuals into an unnatural way of life. Families with children experience unique stressors, such as school closures, disrupted childcare arrangements, requirement of parents to uptake additional responsibilities such as homeschooling, possible financial strain, and lack of breathing space between family...
Article
Full-text available
Background Meta-analyses have confirmed an association between child sexual abuse (CSA) and non-suicidal and suicidal self-injurious thoughts and behaviors (SITB), yet the mechanisms linking these factors are, to date, poorly understood. The goal of the current study is to explore one potential influencing factor acting in the association between C...
Article
This study responds to a need to expand current understandings of the ways in which counselling services for intimate partner violence (IPV) address trauma. From the perspectives of fifteen women who accessed IPV counselling services in Ontario, Canada, this feminist intersectional study used constructivist grounded theory methods to explore how se...
Article
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Objective: This article describes using a Research Contribution Framework (RCF) (Morton, 2015a), to plan and document the progress of knowledge mobilization (KMb) efforts for the Make Resilience Matter (MRM) for Children Exposed to Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) study. Research uptake, use and impact activities were planned for this project design...
Article
Background Social media is providing new avenues for survivors to disclose sexual abuse and/or assault. Since the creation of #MeToo (2017), and the larger MeToo movement founded by American activist Tarana Burke in 2006, millions are disclosing sexual assaults and past childhood sexual abuse on-line. Objective Social media for disclosing the high...
Article
Despite increasing acknowledgment of intimate partner violence (IPV) as a potentially traumatic experience, there is a gap in research investigating women’s perspectives of trauma related to their experiences of IPV from an intersectional lens. Intersectionality, which illuminates interconnected inequalities due to constructions of race, gender, se...
Article
First Nations children are overrepresented in the Ontario child welfare system and there are disparities across decision points in the investigation process (Ma, Fallon, & Richard, Child Abuse & Neglect, 90 (2019), 52–65). The current study comprises a secondary analysis of the 2013 Ontario Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect and fo...
Article
Elder abuse remains a largely hidden problem in our society and only a small minority of victims are connected to formal support/protective services. Healthcare settings have been identified as a critical milieu to uncover cases of elder abuse; however, under-detection in these settings is a major issue. Victimization disclosure is an important com...
Article
Full-text available
A credible body of research has evolved on resilience and children exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV). This information can be drawn on for resilience-informed approaches specifically aimed at working with children exposed to IPV. Child exposure to IPV has been an area of growing interest with rates in both child welfare and community sampl...
Article
Most theories of child sexual abuse are, to some degree, gendered, with nonoffending mothers bearing the burden of blame, ideologically and legally, for the transgressions of predominantly male offenders. This article explores the social construction of blame for child sexual abuse via critical analyses of evolving theoretical perspectives on mater...
Article
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Objectives: The welfare of children exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV) has been identified as an area needing further investigation to improve our knowledge base and services. This study sought to interpret experiences of adults who were exposed as children to IPV to explore factors of resilience identified; knowledge which may be used to i...
Article
Full-text available
Identifying and understanding factors that promote or inhibit child sexual abuse (CSA) disclosures has the potential to facilitate earlier disclosures, assist survivors to receive services without delay, and prevent further sexual victimization. Timely access to therapeutic services can mitigate risk to the mental health of survivors of all ages. T...
Article
This paper reports on a qualitative study that used focus groups to gather data from the perspective of child protection workers on their experiences in providing services to clients with limited English proficiency (LEP). The goals of the study were to understand processes of relationship building and service provision that could contribute to imp...
Article
Newcomer and immigrant clients with limited language abilities face communication barriers that can compromise their capacity to make informed decisions about themselves and their children with serious implications for their families. These clients most likely had high proficiency of language in their country of origin but are learning the language...
Article
Newcomer and immigrant clients with limited language abilities face communication barriers that can compromise their capacity to make informed decisions about themselves and their children with serious implications for their families. These clients most likely had high proficiency of language in their country of origin but are learning the language...
Poster
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A review of the research on the role of resilience in children exposed to intimate violence.
Article
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Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth have the potential for considerable resilience. Positive media representations may mediate negative experiences and foster self-esteem, yet the relationship between resilience and both traditional offline and new online media remains underaddressed for this population. This grounded-theor...
Conference Paper
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Objectives: Child sexual abuse (CSA) is often depicted as a phenomenon that almost exclusively involves female victims and male perpetrators (Cermak & Molidar, 1996; Putnam, 2003). However, research on CSA consistently shows that the sexual victimization of boys occurs at significant rates (Cawson, Wattam, Brooker, & Kelly, 2000; Finkelhor, Hammer...
Article
Newcomer and immigrant clients with limited language abilities face communication barriers that can compromise their capacity to make informed decisions about themselves and their children with serious implications for their families. These clients most likely had high proficiency of language in their country of origin but are learning the language...
Article
Stigma, discrimination and violence contribute to health disparities among sexual minorities. Lesbian, bisexual and queer (LBQ) women experience sexual violence at similar or higher rates than heterosexual women. Most research with LBQ women, however, has focused on measuring prevalence of sexual violence rather than its association with health out...
Article
Full-text available
Youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer [LGBTQ] are at elevated risk of experiencing verbal and physical harassment, as well as an array of negative outcomes, including increased violence and suicidality. The purpose of this study was to solicit input from LGBTQ youth (n = 19) about the strengths, limitations, and influe...
Article
Semistructured follow-up interviews were conducted with 32 Canadian youth ages 14 to 20years old; 5years prior, these youth had participated in a structured arts program. Given that little is known about the long-term effects of afterschool arts-based programs, interviews took a qualitative approach to delineate adolescents' experiences with the pr...
Article
Full-text available
Cyberspace has added a new dimension to the ecology of children made the subjects of sexual abuse images distributed online. These images cannot be permanently removed and can continue to circulate in cyberspace forever. A review of the current literature suggests that helping professionals are not consistently aware of or do not probe possibilitie...
Article
Objectives: This article presents a systematic evaluation of the effectiveness of interventions aimed at reducing distress in adult victims of rape and sexual violence. Method: Studies were eligible for the review if the assignment of study participants to experimental or control groups was by random allocation or parallel cohort design. Results: S...
Article
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The prevalence of male child sexual abuse (MCSA) is higher than initially thought with up to 26 % of men in community samples reporting sexual abuse in childhood, and up to 36 % of men in clinical samples reporting childhood sexual abuse. Disclosure of MCSA is complex because of men’s difficulties in viewing themselves as victims, especially of sex...
Article
Large numbers of domestic violence (DV) cases on child protection caseloads have necessitated the development of practices that address both DV and child safety. The first step in this process is to gain an understanding of the differences between DV-involved cases and other forms of maltreatment. The implementation of a differential response servi...
Book
Violence in families and intimate relationships affects a significant proportion of the population—from very young children to the elderly—with far-reaching and often devastating consequences. Cruel but Not Unusual draws on the expertise of scholars and practitioners to present readers with the latest research and thinking about the history, condit...
Article
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The Campbell systematic review aims to examine the effectiveness of psychotherapeutic interventions in reducing symptoms of distress and trauma for victims of sexual assault and rape. Six studies including 405 participants met eligibility criteria, with data from 358 participants available for analysis. Results of this systematic review provide ten...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: A multistage, mixed-methods study using grounded theory with descriptive data was conducted to examine factors in disclosure of intimate partner violence (IPV). Method: In-depth interviews with individuals and focus groups were undertaken to collect data from 98 IPV survivors and service providers to identify influential factors. Quantit...
Article
Full-text available
Research continues to indicate a concerning number of children and youth, between 60-80%, withhold disclosure until adulthood suggesting that many children endure prolonged victimization or never receive necessary intervention. The study aim was to qualitatively identify factors that impede or promote child sexual abuse (CSA) disclosure. Using a ph...
Article
Immigrant women face numerous, and sometimes insurmountable, barriers in reporting and seeking services for intimate partner violence (IPV). A number of these obstacles relate to immigration laws, policies and legal processes they encounter due to their immigration status and sponsorship relationship. The present study was conducted in Canada, in a...
Article
Research concerning child victims of sexual abuse in the judicial system cites largely negative experiences and outcomes. However, few investigations focus on parental experiences of the justice system. Using a grounded theory method this Canadian study explored parental experiences of legal and judicial processes for child sexual abuse victims. Ni...
Article
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Research has suggested that minority children experience more negative consequences as a result of abuse than maltreated children from the dominant culture (Cohen, Deblinger, Mannarino, & de Arellano, 2001). Furthermore, if families come in contact with the child welfare system, minority and poor children are often treated differently than their Wh...
Article
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This study examined group leaders' adherence to The Incredible Years Parenting Program's components and collaborative process during a yearlong dissemination in a large multicultural city and universal prevention context. Mixed methods were used to evaluate adherence and develop an understanding of the barriers and facilitators of therapist fidelit...
Article
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Being deeply understood relies on the ability of the social work clinician to have authentic and genuine empathy for their client. This phenomenological study sought to understand the lived experience of men sexually abused as boys in their childhood, and what life is like for them as sexual abuse survivors in adulthood. Analyses of fourteen male s...
Article
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Concern for the recognition, support, and rights of victims within the criminal justice system has grown in recent years, leading to legislative and procedural changes in the administration of justice that have improved the experiences of victims. What is not clear is whether all victims have benefited from changes in the system regardless of race...
Article
This study explored influences on racial identity of mixed race youth who identified themselves to be part of mixed African (Black) and European (White) origin. Research questions emerged following a review of the literature identifying the ways in which views of self, family, peers and society impact youth and their racial identification. Eight in...
Article
Full-text available
The literature on victims of sexual violence in the criminal justice system has overwhelmingly pointed to the negative impact of these encounters. This research project sought to explore various aspects that might contribute to harm by conducting in-depth qualitative interviews and collecting limited quantitative data on 31 victims who had encounte...
Article
Full-text available
North American child protection systems have been experiencing an era of sweeping child welfare reform over the last decade. Despite the breadth of these changes, legislative and policy impacts are rarely evaluated to ascertain whether changes are resulting in the outcomes they were designed to achieve. Using a participatory research framework, 70...
Article
This article reports on a multi-method evaluation of a national arts program conducted over 3years in five sites across Canada. Statistical analysis involve growth curve modeling of five waves of data and interviews with participating youth and parents. The results indicate that high-quality arts programs have a significant effect on children’s in-...
Article
Many victims of sexual assault and sexual abuse seek justice through the courts. This study explored disjunctures in the perceptions of two key groups of professionals, agents of the court and victim therapists/advocates, regarding the role, experiences and outcomes for victims of sexual violence in the criminal justice system. Concerns are express...
Article
With the divorce rate rising and related child visitation disputes becoming an increasingly difficult issue before the courts, supervised visitation programs have proliferated over the last decade. The literature demonstrates that ongoing contact between children and both parents following separation and/or divorce is important for children's socio...
Article
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This study qualitatively explored dynamics that impede or promote disclosure of child sexual abuse. Findings on the impact of gender on disclosure are reported based on data from 30 in-depth interviews of adult survivors. While there were strong similarities, noteworthy differences connected to gender and disclosure emerged. The overall trend was t...
Article
Full-text available
It is disturbingly common for victims of peer victimization, also referred to as bullying, to withhold disclosure of their experience. This is so despite the implementation of numerous programs to increase the ability and willingness of victims to disclose and to improve the capacity of others to intervene. Disclosure is a complex matter that may n...
Article
Although the co-occurrence of woman abuse and child sexual abuse is high little research exists exploring the impact of woman abuse on maternal response to child sexual abuse (CSA). Findings from two qualitative studies indicate the form of woman abuse to have differential impact on maternal response. Mothers who were abused in non-physical ways, p...
Article
The aim of this study was to explore influences that inhibit or promote child sexual abuse (CSA) disclosure. Face-to-face in-depth interviews of 24 female and male survivors of CSA were conducted, using the Long-Interview method to trace disclosure processes. Verbatim transcriptions of the interviews were analyzed by hand and by using a computerize...
Article
Full-text available
Clinicians and researchers emphasize the importance of recognizing differential cross-cultural definitions of child maltreatment, cautioning awareness that some ethnic groups may use harsher methods to discipline their children. Using a mixed-method research approach, based on questionnaire and focus group data, 29 parents of South Asian descent pr...
Article
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Satellite children are children of ethnically Chinese immigrants to North America who have returned to their country of origin after immigration. Based on interview transcripts of 68 adolescent satellite children, an analysis on the negotiation of ethnic identity was performed using the NUD*IST software. The analysis showed multiple ways of ethnic...
Article
Full-text available
This article reports the findings of a grounded theory study aimed at identifying factors contributing to maternal response, and aspects of more and less supportive responses, to children who were sexually abused by the mother's intimate partner. The discovery-oriented nature of the research revealed dimensions of maternal support that have not bee...
Article
The role of culture when providing services for families in the wake of child sexual abuse disclosure is a charged issue although surprisingly little attention has been given in the research literature to this. This article reports the findings of a grounded theory study exploring facets of maternal response, and aspects of more and less supportive...
Article
Full-text available
This qualitative study utilized the long interview method to identify a range of family dynamics that may affect a child's ability to disclose sexual abuse. It is estimated that 30% to 80% of victims do not purposefully disclose child sexual abuse (CSA) before adulthood. Retrospective data about disclosure processes were elicited through interviews...

Projects

Projects (4)
Archived project
The core objective of this multi-site qualitative study is to further our understanding of the in-depth experiences of disclosure of sexually abused youth. Our objectives in undertaking this research are to: (1) conceptualize factors that either act as facilitators or barriers to formal and informal disclosures of CSA using an ecological theoretical framework; (2) explore the outcomes of disclosures and the youth’s perspectives of their interaction with the legal and social systems involved upon disclosures; (3) examine how disclosures of CSA and actions taken by legal and social services reduce the risk of further victimizations of CSA victims; and (4) document experiences of discontinuous memories and mentalizing capacities as they relate to disclosure processes. A large qualitative non probability sample of youth recruited in Canada and Ireland will allow for the exploration of these four objectives, while taking into account the diverse profiles of sexually abused youth and contrasting the experiences of: male victims from female victims; intrafamilial from extrafamilial CSA victims; and different social contexts experienced by French Canadian, English Canadian, and Irish CSA victims.
Archived project
The overarching goal of this two-day event is to bridge geographical, linguistic and systemic barriers and bring together a multi-sectoral audience to engage on how to best support the resilience of children and youth with complex trauma histories and translate scientific advances policy and practice.
Project
Resilience can help to explain positive outcomes and offers hope and direction for supporting all children more effectively. While there is research on resilience and adversity, there is little on resilience related specifically to children exposed to IPV, and little to assist professionals working with children and families dealing with IPV. This is a SSHRC funded mixed methods study conducted over the past three years. Findings from adult interview data, instruments filled out by children and a secondary analysis of the Canadian National Longitudinal Study of Children and Youth is identifying important individual, familial, community and cultural factors contributing to resilience processes in IPV exposed children and youth. ndividual, familial, community and cultural factors that l be presented.