Attributions in a Hypothetical Child Sexual Abuse Case: Roles of Abuse Type, Family Response and Respondent Gender
ABSTRACT The present study examines the impact abuse type, family response, and respondent gender have on attributions of blame in
a hypothetical child sexual abuse (CSA) case. Three hundred and ninety three respondents read a hypothetical CSA scenario
describing the sexual assault of a 14year old girl by a 25-year-old man and completed 14 attribution items. Overall, the
assault was deemed more serious, the perpetrator more culpable, and the family less culpable when CSA involved (vaginal) penetration.
Contrary to expectations, respondents were more negative towards a family who denied the abuse took place versus one which
blamed or supported the victim. Finally, male respondents deemed the abuse to be less serious, were more negative towards
the victim and their families, and more positive towards perpetrators than were female respondents. The role these factors
play in CSA attributions, together with ideas for future research, are discussed.
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ABSTRACT: According to the gender stereotypes attributed to men, and research on adult male victims, boys subjected to sexual abuse are expected to be better able to defend themselves than girls, and are thought to be more likely to adopt a proactive attitude in the victim–perpetrator relationship. They are consequently regarded as more blameworthy than female victims. In the present study, 384 French respondents read through a sexual abuse scenario in which the child victim's gender, perpetrator's gender and victim's age (7 vs. 12 years old) were manipulated. As expected, male respondents blamed the victim more than female respondents did, especially when the victim was a boy. Furthermore, male respondents blamed the perpetrator less than female respondents did, especially when the perpetrator was a woman and the victim a boy. However, these effects were observed for victims of both 7 and 12 years old while it was expected only for the 12-year-old victims. Finally, as expected, respondents who expressed a high need for closure perceived the victim as less credible and more guilty than respondents who expressed a low need for closure, particularly when the victim was 12 years old. This cognitive characteristic thus appears to moderate the expression of stereotypical representations.Psychology Crime and Law 01/2012; · 0.69 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: This study investigates the impact that perpetrator coercion type, victim resistance type and respondent gender have on attributions of blame in a hypothetical child sexual abuse case. A total of 366 respondents read a hypothetical scenario describing the sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl by a 39-year-old man, before completing 21 attribution items relating to victim blame, perpetrator blame, the blaming of the victim's (non-offending) parents, and assault severity. Overall, men judged the assault more serious when the perpetrator used physical force as opposed to verbal threat or misrepresented play as a coercive act. Men also deemed the victim's non-offending parents more culpable when the victim offered no resistance, rather than physical or verbal resistance. Women judged the assault equally severe regardless of coercion type, although they did rate the victim's family more culpable when the victim offered verbal rather than physical resistance. Implications and ideas for future work are discussed.Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research. 01/2010; 2(3):25-35.
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ABSTRACT: Low conviction rates of child sexual assault (CSA) remain a persistent social problem in Australia. One reason for this may be the impact of attitudes regarding the victims when the evidence is weak. This article examines the effects of victim age on perceptions of credibility and verdict in a CSA case. Eleven electronic focus groups deliberated a fictional CSA case, in which the age of the child was systemically varied between 6 and 15 years. Deliberation transcripts were analysed with NVivo (Version 9, QSR International Pty Ltd., Burlington, MA, USA), from which thematic clusters were derived. Results showed that as the child's age increased, credibility and guilty verdicts decreased. In addition, testimony alone had little impact in influencing the verdict. These findings suggest that in lieu of corroborating evidence, increasing supporting information, such as expert testimony, and providing structured deliberation for the jury may reduce the influence of victim blame, particularly when the child victim is older.Australian Journal of Psychology 01/2014; · 1.08 Impact Factor