The Environment of Intrafamilial Offenders – A Systematic Review of Dynamics in Incestuous Families
The aim of this study was to identify family characteristics and dynamics relevant to the initiation and maintenance of intrafamilial child sexual abuse. An understanding of essential characteristics of the affected families could help to prevent such crimes. In order to provide an overview of the current state of research, a literature review based on the PRISMA criteria was conducted. For the research in the databases PsycInfo and PSYNDEX, predetermined criteria and search terms were used. Fifteen relevant articles from 1991 to 2020 were identified. The studies examined perpetrator-victim relationships, the role of the mother, the relationship between the parents and characteristics of the families in which child sexual abuse took place. Relevant core characteristics of incestuous families are dysfunctional, violent, and conflictual relationships between the parents, and between parents and children. However, these factors are often not specific to intrafamilial abuse. Only six articles published after 2000 were identified. Little evidence for each individual construct was found, so the effects should not be overestimated. Further research on intrafamilial child sexual abuse is necessary.