Journal of Child Sexual Abuse

Published by Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Online ISSN: 1547-0679
Print ISSN: 1053-8712
This article reviews a recent book arguing how a concept known as parental alienation syndrome-now parental alienation disorder-should be included in official psychiatric/psychological and medical classification diagnostic manuals. Anecdotal cases and opinion are presented as research and scientific evidence, and stories are presented as research studies. In addition, the book often contradicts itself in different sections. The author is not familiar with scientific methodology, confuses various statistical and research procedures and terminology, and thus misleads the reader in trying to promote this theory. This book's claim that it is the most comprehensive compilation of the evidence supporting parental alienation disorder/parental alienation syndrome is false, and it is not recommended by the reviewers.
In the initial analysis of data from a random sample of all those charged with child sexual abuse in Idaho over a 13-year period, only one predictive variable was found that related to recidivism of those convicted. Variables such as ethnicity, relationship, gender, and age differences did not show a significant or even large association with recidivism. The only variable that seemed to show both a significant and almost moderate association to recidivism was the Risk Assessment in the Sex Offender Evaluation reoffense. Comparisons were made to prior research as well as a discussion of implications of the sex offender evaluation for the legal process. Finally, a call for the continued need for further research is discussed.
This 18-month follow-up study builds on the findings of a randomized experimental evaluation that found qualified support for the short-term effectiveness of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) in reducing trauma symptoms among adult female survivors of childhood sexual abuse (CSA). The current study provides preliminary evidence that the therapeutic benefits of EMDR for adult female survivors of CSA can be maintained over an 18-month period. Furthermore, there is some support for the suggestion that EMDR did so more efficiently and provided a greater sense of trauma resolution than did routine individual therapy.
Previous definitions of sexually abusive behavior in children and adolescents were deficient in failing to (1) highlight salient neuropsychological elements and antisocial behaviors that may contribute to a youth's functioning; (2) discriminate among possible types of coercion (e.g., manipulation, threats, physical force, and use of weapons); and (3) include predatory elements of sexual abuse against strangers or casual acquaintances. This article discusses a new comprehensive assessment tool that assists in defining sexually abusive youth. This tool, the Multiplex Empirically Guided Inventory of Ecological Aggregates for Assessing Sexually Abusive Children and Adolescents (Ages 19 and under) (MEGA; Miccio-Fonseca, 2006b), encompasses neuropsychological elements, coercive aspects, and predatory elements as essential factors to consider in comprehensive assessments of sexually abusive youth.
This article analyzes trends in the coverage of child sexual abuse in popular magazines since the early 1990s. The article employs systematic analysis to identify and analyze articles in four popular magazines. Articles are analyzed by subject, length, and publication. The results affirm established theories of newsworthiness related to the coverage of specific stories over time. However, interest in the subject waned in the past 10 years, with the brief and dramatic exception of coverage connected to the Catholic Church in 2002. The findings demonstrate systematic differences between the slants of the four magazines studied. The findings also suggest that child abuse professionals could improve the quality of coverage by agreeing to interviews in connection with articles about childhood sexual abuse.
This article provides an assessment over time of the incidence of newspaper-reported Internet-initiated sexual assaults among U.S. adolescents undergoing adjudication from 1996 to 2007. Of 812 newspaper reports of adjudicated Internet-initiated sexual assault, most (79.2%) victims were female, and the median age was 14 years. The incidence rate of these reports increased over the 12-year period for females but remained steady for males. The frequency of these assaults was much less than reported for other types of sexual assaults in this age group. These estimates hopefully will assist in a greater understanding of these assaults, aid in interventions to decrease their occurrence, and guide effective policymaking that will reduce all types of sexual assault among adolescents.
This article presents a review of all types of child sexual abuse research ignored by Rind, Tromovitch, and Bauserman in their 1998 meta-analytic study. Eight major findings are addressed. Altogether, these findings demonstrate the narrow focus of the Rind et al. meta-analysis. By restricting a supposedly broad meta-analysis to only some of the research and population in question, the conclusions Rind et al. drew regarding this complex topic (primarily, that adult-child sex is not necessarily harmful to children) are invalid.
An article, “A Meta-analytic Examination of Assumed Properties of Child Sexual Abuse Using College Samples,” published in the July 1998 edition of the Psychological Bulletin resulted in an unprecedented amount of media attention and became the first scientific article to be formally denounced by the United States House of Representatives. The study's authors analyzed the findings of 59 earlier studies on child sexual abuse (CSA) and concluded that mental health researchers have greatly overstated CSA's harmful potential. They recommended that a willing encounter with positive reactions would no longer be considered to be sexual abuse; instead, it would simply be labeled adult-child sex. The study's conclusions and recommendations spawned a debate in both the popular and scholarly press. A number of commentators suggested that the study is pedophile propaganda masquerading as science. Others claimed that the authors are victims of a moralistic witch-hunt and that scientific freedom is being threatened. After a careful examination of the evidence, it is concluded that Rind et al. can best be described as an advocacy article that inappropriately uses science in an attempt to legitimize its findings.
The goal of this article is to present a methodological critique of the 1998 meta-analysis of child sexual abuse outcomes by Rind, Tromovitch, and Bauserman. Seven major concerns are addressed. Rind et al.'s view is, at best, extremely limited. By restricting a supposedly broad meta-analysis to only some of the population in question, the conclusions they drew regarding this complex topic, primarily that adult-child sex is not necessarily harmful, are invalid.
Data from the 2000 National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) show that while males make up about nine out of every 10 adult sexual assault perpetrators, totaling about 26,878 incidents within the reporting period, females account for about one out of 10 perpetrators, totaling about 1,162 incidents. Male sexual assault perpetrators offend against child victims about 25% of the time and predominantly choose female child victims, whereas female perpetrators offend against child victims about 40% of the time and choose child victims of both genders equally. Male perpetrators offend against adolescent victims about 40% of the time, and once again tend to choose female adolescent victims. Female perpetrators offend against adolescent victims a comparable amount of time (about 45%), and for forcible offenses (rape, sodomy, sexual assault with an object, and forcible fondling) choose adolescent victims of both genders equally, while for non-forcible offenses (non-forcible incest and statutory rape) they tend to choose predominantly male victims. Finally, adult male sexual assault perpetrators choose adult victims about 36% of the time while female perpetrators choose adult victims only 16% of the time. Implications for professionals are discussed, including recommendations to aid in correct identification of adult perpetrators and child/adolescent victims of sexual assault.
Sibling sexual abuse is identified as the most common form of familial sexual abuse. Extant literature is plagued by definitional inconsistencies, data limitations, and inadequate research methodology. Trivialized as "normal" sexual exploration, sibling sexual abuse has been linked to psychosocial/psychosexual dysfunction. Research has relied on retrospective, convenience, and/or homogenous samples. This work drew on eight years of National Incident-Based Reporting System data (2000-2007) to provide aggregate level baseline information. This work extended prior research exploring victim-, offender-, and incident-based characteristics. Results highlight the need for expanded definitional criteria relating to both age and gender to better inform risk assessment and prevention. Findings both corroborate and contrast prior work and suggest victim- and offender-based gender differences.
News media coverage of child sexual abuse can help policymakers and the public understand what must be done to prevent future abuse, but coverage tends to focus on extreme cases. This article presents an analysis of newspaper coverage from 2007 to 2009 to describe how the daily news presents and frames day-to-day stories about child sexual abuse. When child sexual abuse receives news attention, the stories focus primarily on the criminal justice details of a specific incident rather than contextual information about causes of and solutions to child sexual abuse, and prevention is rarely addressed. We offer suggestions for strategies that advocates can use to help reporters improve news coverage so that it better contextualizes child sexual abuse and links it to prevention policies.
Everson and Faller's (2012) article on the significance of sexualized behavior in child sexual abuse assessments critiques a chapter by Poole and Wolfe (2009), but their objections assumed conclusions and practice implications that were not contained in that chapter. In this comment, I reiterate the value of educating adults about normative sexual and nonsexual behavior that could be misconstrued as symptoms of sexual abuse in some children, review key points from the chapter, and point out that Everson and Faller's critique supports the chapter's take-home messages (i.e., the importance of gathering information from multiple sources and the need to test alternative hypotheses for concerning behavior, consider the overall context of individual cases, and obtain independent verification of evidence).
Our series of three chapters ( Faust, Bridges, & Ahern, 2009a , 2009b ; Bridges, Faust, & Ahern, 2009 ) on the methodology of identifying sexually abused children elicited a number of comments, both supportive and critical. The criticisms appear related to three primary issues or apparent misconceptions of our work, perhaps due in part to incomplete exposition or ambiguity in presented material: our use of hypotheticals, our argument against "double-dipping," and our use of Bayesian analyses. We address each of these criticisms here in the hope of clarifying any misunderstandings and contributing in a constructive way to progress in this critical arena.
The medical evaluation of children with suspected sexual abuse includes more than just the physical examination of the child. The importance of taking a detailed medical history from the parents and a history from the child about physical sensations following sexual contact has been emphasized in other articles in the medical literature. The examination is important, however, and medical providers who examine children need to be aware of published research on findings in nonabused children, studies of healing of injuries, and studies documenting the association between sexual contact and the diagnosis of sexually transmissible infections in children. This article reviews the current approach to interpreting findings in children who may have been sexually abused and why additional research is needed.
Cross, Fine, Jones, and Walsh's (20124. Cross , T. P. , Fine , J. E. , Jones , L. M. and Walsh , W. A. 2012. Mental health professionals in children's advocacy centers: Is there role conflict?. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 21(1): 91–108. [Taylor & Francis Online], [PubMed]View all references) article “Mental Health Professionals in Children's Advocacy Centers: Is There Role Conflict?” challenges two recent publications' criticisms that child advocacy centers create role conflict for mental health professionals and explains how child advocacy centers actually work, describing the different roles for mental health professionals who participate in them. This commentary points out that more precise data would have helped to specifically address the critics' concerns. Furthermore, professional ethics and licensure issues may have served as an additional but unacknowledged check on the “spillover effect” that the critics have alleged comes with being associated with prosecution. This commentary also highlights three main strengths of the Cross and colleagues' article.
Role conflict has been an issue in the intervention of child abuse cases since the beginning of the alliance drawn between the legal and mental health professions. In child abuse cases, clearly defined roles will prevent an attack on the process, thereby providing successful interventions to protect children. The child advocacy center concept is one of the best ways to meld the two professional functions into a cohesive approach to those interventions.
Cross, Fine, Jones, and Walsh (20124. Cross , T. P. , Fine , J. E. , Jones , L. M. and Walsh , W. A. 2012. Mental health professionals in children's advocacy centers: Is there role conflict?. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 21(1): 91–108. [Taylor & Francis Online], [PubMed]View all references) provided a thoughtful review and critique of a book chapter describing the interview process at Child Advocacy Centers. They observed some of the ways that concerns raised in that chapter are being addressed and described revised guidelines that further clarify issues. Ongoing research and examination of the important processes carried on by child advocacy centers and the role fulfilled by mental health professionals in the investigation of child sexual abuse contributes positively to service delivery.
The purpose of this study was to identify possible differences between high- and low-risk sex offenders. The subjects included 285 sex offenders on probation. They were evaluated with the Static-99, Abel Assessment, Raven's, and MMPI-2. A criminal history review identified the number of prior offenses and the age/sex category in the index offense. The high- and low-risk groups were compared on 26 variables: intelligence, age, criminal history, denial patterns, measured sexual interest in children, admission of sexual interests, a childhood history of sexual abuse, victim's age, and personality variables. Four variables significantly accounted for 64% of the variance: age, prior number of felonies, the Cognitive Distortion Score, and the MMPI-2 Infrequency scale score.
Effect of the NICHD Protocol on the Quantity of Details Obtained by Children with Low and Average Verbal Abilities. 
This study explored the impact of the NICHD protocol to enhance the quantity and content of details reported by children with low verbal abilities. Thirty-four children aged from 6 to 14 were interviewed following their experience of sexual abuse. Half the interviews were conducted using the NICHD protocol. Results indicate that NICHD interviews contained more open-ended prompts and more details overall. Open-ended invitations yielded significantly more detailed responses than did closed-ended questions for both children with low and average verbal abilities. Although children with low verbal abilities provided fewer details than children with average verbal abilities, the NICHD protocol helped them provide detailed responses containing the core elements of the sexual abuse.
This study addressed the impact of traumatic experiences on dyadic relationships by comparing general stress and trauma symptoms and relationship impairment measures between two clinical groups: female childhood sexual abuse (CSA) survivors (n=15) and their male partners, and a control group of couples who reported no CSA (n=17). Both female CSA survivors and their partners reported higher symptoms of stress, suggesting support for the theory of secondary traumatic stress. Relationship impairment results did not support the hypothesis that CSA would negatively impact the dyadic functioning of couples. Clinical implications and recommendations for future research are provided.
To explore partner abuse among women in families in which a child has disclosed child sexual abuse, 102 mothers completed a measure of partner abuse and the Coping Responses Inventory. Results suggest that, like women in the general population, mothers of children who have been sexually abused have often experienced partner abuse. As expected, physical abuse in a current relationship was found to be related to the use of avoidance strategies in dealing with the sexual abuse disclosure. The implications for practitioners and for future research are discussed.
This study assessed the relationships between maternal adult attachment style, children's perceptions of maternal support following disclosure of sexual abuse, and maternal perceptions of children's behavioral and emotional responses to sexual abuse among African-American child sexual abuse victims aged 4 to 12 (n=96) and a comparison group of non-abused subjects (n=100). Mothers with insecure attachment styles reported significantly higher rates of internalizing behaviors in their sexually abused children than did securely attached mothers. Among mothers of non-abused children, those with insecure adult attachment styles reported significantly higher rates of externalizing behaviors shown by their children in comparison with mothers with a secure adult attachment style. Mothers with insecure adult attachment styles also reported higher rates of overall behavior problems in their non-abused children that approached statistical significance. Sexually abused children's perceptions of maternal support were not related to maternal attachment style nor to child functioning. Contrary to our prediction, mothers of sexually abused children did not show lower rates of secure attachments when compared to mothers of non-sexually abused children. Our findings indicate that fostering parent- child attachment is important in order to decrease the risk for behavior problems and symptomatology in sexually abused children.
This case study describes the Enough Abuse Campaign, a multidisciplinary, statewide effort to prevent child sexual abuse in Massachusetts. The study uses the Institute of Medicine's Framework for Collaborative Community Action on Health to provide a systematic description of the campaign's process of implementation, which includes: (a) developing a state-level infrastructure for child sexual abuse prevention, (b) assessing child sexual abuse perceptions and public opinion, (c) developing local infrastructures in three communities and implementing training programs focused on preventing perpetration of child sexual abuse, (d) facilitating changes in local communities to child-sexual-abuse-related systems, and (e) inviting Massachusetts residents to join an advocacy-based movement to prevent child sexual abuse. This case study concludes with future directions for the campaign and topics for future research related to child sexual abuse.
Abstract Adolescents with abuse histories have been shown to be at increased risk to acquire Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Sexually Transmitted Infections (HIV/STI). Additionally, teens with lower levels of self-restraint or higher levels of distress, such as those with psychiatric concerns, have also demonstrated increased sexual risk behaviors. This study explored sex differences in sexual risk behaviors among a sample of adolescents in a therapeutic/alternative high school setting. Moderated regression analysis showed that a lower level of self-restraint was associated with sexual risk behaviors in boys but not in girls. Rather, the interaction of self-restraint and multiple types of abuse was associated with greater sex risk within girls in this sample. Results suggest that girls and boys with abuse histories and low levels of self-restraint may have different intervention needs related to sexual risk behaviors.
This study sought to examine the family environments of a sample of Hispanic women who reported childhood sexual abuse. Eighteen women, taken from a larger college sample, were individually interviewed and administered the Family Environment Scale (FES; Moos & Moos, 1994). Cultural values and the relationship of family characteristics to the individual's experience of sexual abuse were explored. The abused women obtained significantly higher scores on the Achievement-Orientation subscale of the FES than the normative group. Qualitative data revealed some patterns in these families regarding sexual discussions and poor conflict resolution skills. Implications for treatment of Hispanic victims are discussed.
Adults under age 25 comprise the majority of statutory rape perpetrators, yet we know little about their perceptions of statutory relationships. We assessed 210 (50% male) young adults' perceptions of statutory rape involving a 15-year-old female adolescent and a male who was either 2, 4, or 6 years older. Across all age gaps, 73.7% of participants felt the relationship should not be a crime. Participants who read about a 4- or 6-year (versus 2-year) age gap perceived the relationship as significantly more of a crime and the older partner as more responsible and in need of legal intervention. Effects were partially mediated by perceptions of the relationship as exploitive. Results suggest a need to educate young adults about statutory rape.
The literature on child sexual abuse reflects growing recognition of the manner in which culture impacts the conceptualization, experience, and treatment of such cases. Despite heightened visibility of Arab Americans within the United States, population due to recent media attention, little empirical research exists on the occurrence of child sexual abuse within this population. Arab culture is often characterized by an emphasis on collectivism and familial obligations, and such features may prove to either facilitate or impede assessment and treatment of child sexual abuse, depending on how they are manifested. In terms of reporting child sexual abuse, cultural values pertaining to shame and honor as well as the stigma attached to mental health problems may influence the response to abuse. As such, enhancing the cultural competence of the therapist is key to facilitating effective cultural practice. Empirical research is required to investigate and substantiate these concepts as they relate to child sexual abuse in Arab-American populations.
Balance Theory: Parents managing the risk of child sexual abuse. 
The aim of this study is to understand how parents manage the risk of child sexual abuse, including prevention as well as early intervention and detection strategies. Using a social constructivist theoretical foundation and grounded theory methods, qualitative in-depth interviews were conducted with Australian parents between 2006 and 2008. Based on the data, a balance theory was developed, which explains how parents attempt to balance the type of information given to children in order to protect their children from sexual abuse without scaring them as well as how parents manage sexual boundary crossing incidents experienced by their children in the context of complex social relationships. Implications for prevention programs as well as reporting of child sexual abuse are discussed.
Irritable bowel syndrome is characterized by chronic gastrointestinal symptoms without a demonstrable physical cause. In a subgroup of patients, irritable bowel syndrome may be part of a cluster of psychosomatic symptoms related to childhood sexual abuse. To investigate this possibility, the Dissociative Disorders Interview Schedule (DDIS), the Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES) and the Symptom Checklist-90 (SCL-90) were administered to 105 subjects with either irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis), or other gastrointestinal disorders. The subjects in the three groups did not differ on the DES, the SCL-90 or most sections of the DDIS. However, subjects with irritable bowel syndrome reported much higher rates of childhood sexual abuse and psychosomatic symptoms.
This study investigated victim culpability, credibility, and assault severity in a hypothetical sexual abuse case. A 2 (respondent gender) x 3 (victim age) x 3 (perpetrator type) between-subjects design was employed. Members (391) of the U.K. general public read the depiction of a female child assaulted by an adult male perpetrator. Respondents then completed an attributions questionnaire. Findings showed that male respondents were less positive toward victims and considered the victim less credible than female respondents. Younger victims (aged five years) were considered more credible than older children (aged 15 years). Victims of strangers were considered more positively and more credible than victims of someone known to them (their father or a family friend). Suggestions for future work are proposed.
This study examined the experiences of shame and guilt in adult males sexually abused as children. Seven participants attending a service for male sexual abuse completed measures of shame, guilt, dissociation, and childhood trauma history and subsequently participated in a focus group. All participants experienced childhood sexual abuse in the "severe" range and showed elevated scores for shame, guilt, and dissociation. Four superordinate themes with associated subordinate themes emerged: (a) self-as-shame (foundations of self-as-shame, fear of exposure, temporary antidote: connection), (b) pervasiveness and power of doubt and denial (from others, from self, consequences of incredulity), (c) uncontrollability (of problems after disclosure, of rage, of intrusions and emotional pain), and (d) dissociation. Results are discussed with reference to the existing literature and the emerging "self-as-shame" construct, which appeared to encapsulate participants' view of themselves.
Cultural norms affect the likelihood that child sexual abuse will be discovered by an adult or disclosed by a child. Cultural norms also affect whether abused children's families will report child sexual abuse to authorities. This article explores the ways ethnic and religious culture affect child sexual abuse disclosure and reporting, both in the United States and internationally. Guidelines for culturally sensitive child abuse interviewing are provided to facilitate disclosures of abuse from culturally diverse children in formal settings.
The relationship between childhood sexual abuse and borderline personality disorder is a prominent issue in the etiological research on borderline personality disorder. This study further explored the relationship between childhood sexual abuse and the development of borderline personality features while evaluating the moderating role of a primary social support source in a sample of 290 female undergraduate students enrolled at a major southeastern university. Consistent with previous research, retrospective self-reports of childhood sexual abuse and low social support were both positively correlated with current borderline personality features. It was hypothesized that the presence of a supportive relationship at the time the childhood sexual abuse occurred would moderate the relationship between childhood sexual abuse and borderline personality features. This moderation hypothesis was not supported in the current study, but post-hoc analyses reveal the need to further examine how we define social support following childhood sexual abuse. This research is a stepping stone toward the prevention of borderline personality disorder following childhood sexual abuse.
The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of abuse and parental characteristics on attributional content and determine the relative contribution of different attributions of blame in predicting psychological symptomatology among adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. One hundred eighty-three female undergraduates with a history of childhood sexual abuse completed self-report questionnaires. Abuse characteristics were significantly related to attributions. Family- and perpetrator-blame accounted for significant variability in psychological symptomatology, beyond the contributions of abuse characteristics, family environment, and self-blame. Implications for research and treatment are discussed.
This interpretative phenomenological analysis study explored seven adult survivors' experiences of coping with childhood sexual abuse and identified their coping strategies on the road to recovery. Data for the analysis was collected using semistructured interviews. The analytical process yielded two key theme clusters: avoidant coping strategies and problem-focused coping strategies. The participants journeyed through similar gradual and dynamic coping processes by initially adopting avoidant strategies before turning to problem-focused ones. A healthy process of coping with sexual abuse involved seeking support, cognitive engagement, optimistic thinking, self-acceptance, and seeking meaning strategies. This study suggests that problem-focused coping strategies should be promoted as part of therapeutic intervention.
During July 2007 to June 2010, BRAC, a nongovernment organization in Bangladesh, reported 713 incidents of rape and attempted rape of children (< 18 years) in rural Bangladesh. This study explores these 713 incidents to identify possible patterns related to the victims, perpetrators, and different dynamics of the incidents. Rape and attempted rape, particularly of young girls, constituted 64% of all reported incidents of violence against children. Children were found to be abused by men from all walks of life, mainly by non-family-members (83%). Similar diversity was seen in the location, time, and context of the incidents. The present study attempts to put forward an overall picture of the depth of the problem of child sexual abuse in rural Bangladesh, linking the incidents with the socially constructed gender relations of power and how it perpetuates sexual abuse of children, especially girls.
This paper considers a case of sexual abuse allegedly perpetrated by a rabbi within an Orthodox Jewish community. The material is drawn from public records and interviews conducted with the family of the reported victim and others involved in the matter. Consideration is given to judicial procedures unique to the traditional Jewish community and how such procedures, while developed to foster justice within the Jewish community, at times may interfere with secular criminal procedures.
The term "professional perpetrator" is used to describe individuals who commit sexual abuse in the capacity of a position of trust such as a teacher, household member, or employer. There is an increasing body of evidence focusing on educator sexual abuse in the school environment. However, data are limited about this topic. The aim of this paper is to present the rare occurrence of the case of a male teacher in Turkey who sexually abused his students in an elementary school. Although it is unknown which populations are most vulnerable to sexual abuse, in Turkey we think that the indigenous population is at risk. Abuse cases are not logged into the criminal justice system because the majority of abuse allegations are ignored or disbelieved by families.
This article presents a historical overview of research on sexually abusive youth. The evolution of the field over the past 30 years is discussed-from the initial development of treatment interventions to contemporary efforts of professionals to move from traditional, adult-oriented interventions toward developmentally sensitive assessment strategies and practice models. Focus is on two critical areas: risk assessment and trauma-informed care. The article reviews contemporary research on risk assessment tools, stressing the need for validated tools that can accurately assess youth and follow changes in risk over time. Etiological models for understanding effects of trauma (Trauma Outcome Process Assessment and Family Lovemap) are presented. Discussed are new ecologically based therapy models for working with sexually abusive youth that approach the youth holistically and are attuned to youths' needs, including providing interventions to address effects of past trauma.
Two hundred and twelve Australian mothers completed an online survey examining features of mother-child communication about child sexual abuse prevention. Two-thirds (67.5%) of respondents had discussed child sexual abuse prevention with their children, with proportions varying according to age range (highest for mothers with children aged 5-12 years) and only-child status (lowest for mothers of only children). The number of topics discussed with their children differed according to child gender (greater number of topics discussed by mothers with both girls and boys) and age range (greater number of topics discussed by mothers with children aged 5-12 years). These findings provide new insights into mother-child communication about child sexual abuse prevention.
This study investigated risk factors for discrepant reporting of physical and sexual abuse among 172 homeless young adults. Discrepant reporting includes situations in which a respondent denies experiencing abuse in general but reports being a victim of specific forms of maltreatment. The results revealed that discrepant reporting rates tended to be highest for minor physical assault and for noncontact sexual abuse. Multivariate results revealed that demographic characteristics were important correlates of both discrepant physical and sexual abuse reporters. Family background characteristics also played a role in discrepant reporting for physical abuse. Overall, some young people with abuse histories are not adequately labeling their maltreatment experiences and, as a result, may not be receiving the necessary treatment.
We describe a Bayesian approach to evaluating children's abuse disclosures and review research demonstrating that children's disclosure of genital touch can be highly probative of sexual abuse, with the probative value depending on disclosure spontaneity and children's age. We discuss how some commentators understate the probative value of children's disclosures by: confusing the probability of abuse given disclosure with the probability of disclosure given abuse, assuming that children formally questioned about sexual abuse have a low prior probability of sexual abuse, misstating the probative value of abuse disclosure, and confusing the distinction between disclosure and nondisclosure with the distinction between true and false disclosures. We review interviewing methods that increase the probative value of disclosures, including interview instructions, narrative practice, noncontingent reinforcement, and questions about perpetrator/caregiver statements and children's reactions to the alleged abuse.
This study examined whether coping, emotion regulation, and self-blame mediate relationships of trauma histories with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression in adult sexual assault victims (N = 1863). A path analysis showed that theorized mediators partially mediated associations between trauma history variables and psychological symptoms. Specifically, child sexual abuse severity was related to greater post-traumatic stress disorder and depression indirectly through maladaptive coping and decreased emotion regulation but not self-blame. Other traumas had direct relationships with symptoms and partially mediated effects through maladaptive coping and emotion regulation. Child sexual abuse was unrelated to self-blame, but other traumas were related to greater self-blame. Results differed according to whether women had counseling post-assault. Implications are drawn for future research and clinical treatment of adult sexual assault victims.
The purpose of the current study was to develop and evaluate the efficacy of a school-based child sexual abuse prevention program for Taiwanese children. Forty-six Taiwanese children age 6 to 13 were divided into one of two groups based on their school grade and then randomly assigned to a skills-based child sexual abuse prevention program who received training immediately or a waiting-list control condition who received the training after a delay. Children's self-protection skills improved regardless of age after participation in the program. The program, however, did not successfully improve children's knowledge of sexuality and safety. Although future studies should modify the program content to better target knowledge of sexuality and safety, these results are promising for a pilot of this skills-based CSA prevention program in Taiwan.
This article describes the state of knowledge about extended assessments/forensic evaluations in situations of possible sexual abuse. It provides a critical review of the modest body of relevant research, describes two models for extended assessments, and presents descriptive survey findings of 62 professionals conducting extended assessments, most of whom conduct extended assessments intermittently as part of their other work on sexual abuse cases. Agencies should consider conducting extended assessments with young or traumatized children whose sexual abuse allegations are not resolved with a single interview as well as in complex child sexual abuse cases.
This article explores shame issues for Latino children who have been sexually abused and their families. Latino cultural concerns around shame that are associated with sexual abuse include: attributions for the abuse, fatalism, virginity, sexual taboos, predictions of a shameful future, revictimization, machismo, and fears of homosexuality for boy victims, and the intersection of shame from sexual abuse with societal discrimination. Quotes and case material are drawn from the author's research and clinical work. The article includes clinical suggestions.
This study examined the relationship among severe child sexual abuse, disclosure, and mental health symptoms during adulthood. The sample consisted of 172 adults who were sexually abused in childhood. The multivariate model showed that respondents in their 30s and 40s who were abused by more than one abuser, who were injured by their abusers, who were abused by a biological relative, who told someone about the abuse when it occurred, and who did not discuss their abuse in depth within one year of the abuse had a greater number of mental health symptoms. Abuse severity and disclosure history should be assessed by professionals to identify clients who are at higher risk of mental health symptoms and to focus therapy.
Top-cited authors
Martine Hébert
  • Université du Québec à Montréal
Lisa Aronson Fontes
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst
Sandy K Wurtele
  • University of Colorado Colorado Springs
Kathleen Coulborn Faller
  • University of Michigan
Patricia Long
  • University of New England