Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Master of Social Science (Human Services)


Faculty of Health and Human Sciences

First Supervisor

Dr Jan Grant


This thesis describes an evaluation of Sexual Assault in Families Inc., Perth, Western Australia (the SAIF programme) which offers therapy and counselling to families where one or more of the children have been sexually abused by one of the family members. The purpose of the study was to demonstrate the use of a triangulated qualitative research methodology in order to determine whether the programme is achieving its objectives in terms of service delivery. It adopted a phenomenological approach in which participants were acknowledged as expert informants who were capable of identifying valued aspects of the programme. The participants were twelve families who had completed the 12 month SAIF therapy programme and who had reunited or were in the process of reunification. The paper describes the families' perceptions and experiences of having Participated in the programme, what changes had occurred as a result of the process, and whether there was evidence that the abuse bad stopped. Levels of family cohesion and adaptability were also measured using the FACES III (Family Adaptability & Cohesion Evaluation Scale). A content analysis procedure identified emergent themes of safety, communication, trust, victim empathy, group Support and self-awareness for each of the three groups of participants, which were then compared to the findings of the FACES III questionnaire.