Students' willingness to seek help from school staff when coping with parental maltreatment

Yaacov B. Yablon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Many children who suffer parental maltreatment are unknown to welfare authorities and do not receive any treatment or support. Schools, which serve as a key social resource for child protection and welfare enforcement, also fail to identify these students. Objective: The aim of the study was to examine children's willingness to seek help at school for dealing with parental maltreatment and to reveal those factors that enhance students’ willingness to seek help at school. Participants and Setting: A national random sample of 859 Israeli students (56 % girls) in 6th-12th grades participated in the study. Methods: Using a sequential mixed-methods research design including both surveys and interviews, the study investigated students' willingness to seek help from their homeroom teacher, school counselor, school teachers, and friends when dealing with neglect, abuse, corporal punishment, and psychological aggression. Results: About half of the students who suffer parental maltreatment never sought help in school. Of those who sought help, about 19 % sought from their friends, and 15 % sought help from the school staff in which school counselors (8.2 %) comprised the most common help resource. Three fundamental factors that explained students' willingness to seek help were revealed: An active helper, positive relationship with the helper, and the importance of confidentiality and trust. Conclusions: The findings highlight the role of active efforts by school for enhancing students' willingness to seek help and the need to devote more attention to friends who serve as a strong help resource and as a possible bridge between peers and the educational team.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104443
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Early online date9 Mar 2020
StatePublished - May 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd


  • Facilitated disclosure
  • Help seeking
  • Parental child maltreatment
  • School
  • Students
  • Teacher-child relationships


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