Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 55, Issue 2, pp 680–694 | Cite as

Mothers’ Experiences with Pastoral Care in Cases of Child Sexual Abuse

  • Jane F. GilgunEmail author
  • Gwendolyn Anderson
Original Paper


This article reports on case study research with four mothers who asked for help from their pastors when they learned, or had reason to believe, that their husbands had sexually abused children in their families. In their own words, mothers gave accounts of how the pastors responded. Some were helpful and knowledgeable, some appeared bewildered, and others were hostile and blaming toward the women. This article will sensitize pastors and other pastoral counselors to issues that child sexual abuse raises. In addition, the research responds to Mahoney’s (J Marriage Fam 72:805–827, 2010) observations about the scarcity of knowledge on whether religion helps or harms families during times of stress.


Religion and family life Child sexual abuse Case study research Qualitative research Pastoral counseling Narrative research 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social WorkUniversity of Minnesota, Twin CitiesSt. PaulUSA
  2. 2.Department of Social WorkUniversity of MinnesotaDuluthUSA

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