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Sexual allegations in divorce: the SAID syndrome

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... Perhaps the circumstance where children's perceptions of relations, multiple interviews, and the use of psychological measures are put to the strictest test is in the evaluation of child sexual abuse (CSA) allegations. As Campbell ( in press ) describes in detail, one of the earliest reviews of CSA related to custody and visitation disputes was reported by Blush and Ross ( 1987 ). Gordon Blush and Karol Ross worked in a clinic that operated as an arm of a family court in the 1980s. ...
... Campbell ( in press ) explained that carefully reviewing the legal history predating any CSA allegations helps evaluators to identify how escalating exchanges between the disputing parents may have triggered CSA allegations. In their SAID Syndrome article, Blush and Ross ( 1987 ) emphasized the necessity of considering the timing of the allegations. Were the allegations timed in such a manner that they gave the accusing parent significantly greater power and influence? ...
... Writing from Minnesota a few years later, Wakefi eld and Underwager ( 1991 ) suggested understanding the "natural history" of an allegation, paying close attention to the origin, nature, and timing of the allegation as essential in evaluating its validity and reliability. Blush and Ross ( 1987 ) and Campbell ( 1992 ) referred to factors they identifi ed as "Sequence-Escalation-Timing" (or SET factors) when reviewing the background and history of any particular case. SET factors direct evaluators to look at the context in which allegations occurred. ...
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... The circumstance where children's perceptions of relations, multiple interviews, and the use of psychological measures are put to the strictest test is in the evaluation of child sexual abuse allegations (CSAs). As Campbell (2013) describes in detail, one of the earliest reviews of CSA related to custody and visitation disputes was reported by Blush and Ross (1987). Gordon Blush and Karol Ross worked in a clinic that operated as an arm of a family court in the 1980s. ...
... Campbell (2013) explained that by carefully reviewing the legal history predating any CSA allegations, the evaluators may identify how escalating exchanges between the disputing parents could have triggered CSA allegations. In their SAID syndrome article, Blush and Ross (1987) emphasized the necessity of considering the timing of the allegations. Were the allegations timed in such a manner that they gave the accusing parent significantly greater power and influence? ...
... In response to CSA, for example, a Department of Social Services would often pursue an alienator's agenda by blocking the target parent's visitation. Blush and Ross (1987) and Campbell (1992a) referred to factors they identified as "Sequence-Escalation-Timing" (SET) factors when reviewing the background and history of any particular case. SET factors direct evaluators to look at the context in which allegations occurred. ...
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This chapter addresses the unique challenges found in the performance of custody evaluations in cases where parental alienation (PA) is alleged. Such cases require attention to specific literature and expertise, which are described. The chapter is divided into four parts. Part One describes the long historical presence of PA. Part Two addresses the expertise necessary to perform such evaluations, and Part Three outlines steps necessary for their performance. Part Four then focuses on how all of this material can be best presented to the court so as to most likely produce relief to the victims of PA.
... Kao posljedica manipulativnih ponašanja roditelja kod djeteta se može razviti sindrom otuđenja od roditelja. Riječ je o psihološkom stanju djeteta koje je uvjetovanom manipulacijom od roditelja koji ima skrbništvo, odnosno s kojim dijete živi, i koji intenzivno nastoji okrenuti dijete protiv drugog roditelja potičući kod djeteta mržnju prema drugom roditelju (43). Krnić (44) razlikuje sindrom otuđenja od roditelja i sindrom zlonamjernog roditelja. ...
... Manipulative behaviors in the parents can lead to the development of parental alienation syndrome. This is a psychological state in the child that is conditioned through manipulation on part of the parent with custody, i.e. the parent the child is living with, when the manipulation is an intensive attempt to turn the child against the other parent and encourage hatred towards them (43). Krnić (44) differentiates between parental alienation syndrome and malicious parent syndrome. ...
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Osobe s emocionalno nestabilnom ličnosti imaju značajne poteškoće u partnerskim odnosima. Njihovi odnosi su nestabilni i burni, obilježeni nepovjerenjem, razdobljima prekidanja i mirenja, ali i visokom stopom razvoda. Prekid partnerske zajednice, zbog osjetljivosti na odbijanje i straha od napuštanja, potencijalni je okidač koji može dovesti do aktivacije postojeće emocinoalno nestabilne ličnosti roditelja, intenziviranja njegovih simptoma, a posljedično i do različitih oblika neprikladnog i manipulativnog ponašanja. Svrha ovog rada je dobiti uvid u obilježja prekida partnerskih zajednica roditelja sa simptomima emocionalno nestabilne ličnosti. U radu su prikazani rezultati kvalitativnog istraživanja obilježja prekida bračne i izvanbračne zajednice roditelja sa simptomima emocionalno nestabilne ličnosti u kojem je sudjelovalo 12 socijalnih radnika i psihologa iz Odjela za zaštitu djece, obitelji i braka centara za socijalnu skrb na području grada Zagreba i Zagrebačke županije. Istraživanje je provedeno metodom polustrukturiranog intervjua. U obradi podataka korištena je tematska analiza. Prema rezultatima istraživanja prekidi partnerske zajednice roditelja sa simptomima emocionalno nestabilne ličnosti obilježeni su visokom razinom sukoba među roditeljima, nemogućnošću postizanja sporazuma oko ostvarivanja sadržaja roditeljske skrbi, manipulativnim ponašanjem i manipulacijom djetetom, drugim roditeljem (bivšim partnerom), stručnjacima i sustavom. Najčešći oblici manipulacije su onemogućavanje susreta i druženja djeteta s drugim roditeljem i članovima njegove obitelji, ocrnjivanje drugog roditelja i članova njegove obitelji pred djetetom i stručnjacima, neutemeljene prijave protiv drugog roditelja, učestali prigovori i prijave protiv postupanja nadležnih socijalnih radnika i drugih stručnjaka. / Persons with emotionally unstable personality disorder have significant difficulties in intimate partnerships. Their relationships are unstable and intense and are marked by distrust, periods of temporary breakups and reconciliation, and a high rate of divorce. Breakups are, due to sensitivity to rejection and fear of abandonment, a potential trigger that can lead to the activation of existing emotionally unstable personality disorder in the parents and increase in the intensity of their symptoms, consequently leading to different forms of inappropriate and manipulative behavior. The goal of this study was to achieve insights in the characteristics of breakups in parents with symptoms of emotionally unstable personality disorder. The present article describes the results of a qualitative study on the characteristics of dissolution of martial and non-marital partnerships of parents with symptoms of emotionally unstable personality disorder, with the participation of 12 social workers and psychologists from the Department for the Protection of Children, Family, and Marriage of social welfare centers in the area of Zagreb and Zagreb County. The study was conducted in the form of semi-structured interviews. Data processing consisted of thematic analysis. According to the results of the study, breakups in parents with symptoms of emotionally unstable personality disorder are marked by a high level of conflict among the Soc. psihijat. | 48 (2020) | 20-49 IZVORNI ZNANSTVENI RAD / ORIGINAL SCIENTIFIC PAPER 21 I. Maljuna, M. Ajduković, D. Ostojić: Characteristics of Intimate Partnership Breakups in Parents with Symptoms of Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder. Soc. psihijat. Vol. 48 (2020) No. 1, p. 20-49. UVOD Osobe s emocionalno nestabilnom ličnosti 1 imaju značajne poteškoće u partnerskim i bli-skim odnosima. Njihovi odnosi su burni i ne-stabilni, obilježeni nepovjerenjem, strahom od napuštanja, impulzivnim ponašanjem, kre-tanjem između krajnosti idealizacije i podcje-njivanja (1), razdobljima prekidanja i mirenja te visokom stopom razvoda (2-4). Nestabil-nosti odnosa pridonosi polariziran, ali pro-mjenjiv pogled koji se očituje u sagledavanju druge osobe kao isključivo dobre ili loše (1) što u situacijama kada ponašanje bliske oso-be narušava idealiziranu sliku te osobe može rezultirati intenzivnim i primitivnim gnjevom (5) i impulzivnim ponašanjem koje se očituje u sklonosti suicidalnim pokušajima, samora-njavanju, riskantnim životnim stilovima (1,6), 1 Prema MKB-10 sustavu. koji se službeno koristi u Hrvat-skoj, emocionalno nestabilna ličnost obuhvaća nestabilno raspoloženje, nepredvidljivo ponašanje, impulzivnost i pro-blematične emocionalne odnose (F60.3). U DSM klasifikaciji taj sesindrom naziva granični poremećaj ličnosti (engl. borderline personality disorder).
... Gardner used the term PAS to define the symptoms of children's rejection and denigration toward one parent after separation or divorce. At the same time, two American psychologists, Blush and Ross (1987), used the term SAID-"Sexual Allegations in Divorce"-to describe false accusations of abuse during the family crisis (see also Blush & Ross, 1987;Ross & Blush, 1990). ...
... Gardner used the term PAS to define the symptoms of children's rejection and denigration toward one parent after separation or divorce. At the same time, two American psychologists, Blush and Ross (1987), used the term SAID-"Sexual Allegations in Divorce"-to describe false accusations of abuse during the family crisis (see also Blush & Ross, 1987;Ross & Blush, 1990). ...
Article
In Richard Gardner’s proposed Parental alienation syndrome, children reject contact with the noncustodial parent due to manipulation from the custodial parent. We investigated whether children are, in fact, easily manipulated, and how. Half of a sample of children ages 6 to 12 witnessed an incident of verbal aggression, while the other half did not. All were asked to report what happened. Half were then subjected to high pressure, stating that the aggressor would be their future teacher. Subjects were furthermore told that the perpetrator was either a good person or a bad person. After these two manipulations they reported again what they had witnessed. The results indicate that children rarely lie, and that although 40% of those who witnessed nothing created a false memory of an aggressive incident, this outcome was not influenced by the degree of pressure or positive or negative manipulation. We found no significant differences based on gender or age. We conclude that Gardner’s ideas about parental alienation syndrome, and in particular the ease of parental manipulation of children, were not empirically verified. We recommend that this concept not be used in the legal system.
... He was the first to identify and name this phenomenon as parental alienation syndrome (PAS). Later, during 1986, two psychologists in Michigan, Blush and Ross, who were unaware of the publications and research of Gardner, published the first of several papers on sex abuse allegations in divorce (SAID) syndrome [4]. They outlined typologies for the accused parent, the child involved, and the falsely accusing parent, the latter parent frequently being the mother. ...
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Background Parental alienation is a relatively newly described disorder, with a growing prevalence, as divorce and custody battles are becoming more and more complex with increased difficulty of joint custody. In parental alienation, one parent, the alienating parent, forms an alliance with the child involved in the custody dispute and manages to effectively alienate the targeted parent completely. The child and the alienating parent manifest a form of folie à deux and, hence, are in complete synchrony in the hatred and denigration of the targeted parent. Issues, such as potentially false allegations of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse of the child by the targeted parent, arise. The child and the alienating parent become mutually convinced of the targeted parent’s transgressions. Consequently, it becomes difficult for the courts and psychiatric professionals to differentiate true abuse from parental alienation. Case presentation In this case study, we aimed to conduct an in-depth psychological and psychiatric evaluation of a Lebanese family (white race) where a father was wrongly accused by the mother and his 11-year-old white boy of both physical and sexual abuse. The data for this study were collected through unstructured and semi-structured interviews, observations, and psychological tests (Rorschach test for the parents and Blacky test for the child), and through the analysis of documented evidence presented in the trial. Conclusion This case manifested most criteria set forth for the diagnosis of parental alienation and created serious doubt regarding the validity of the allegations set forth by the mother and the child. Uncovered parental alienation often misleads mental health professionals at the expense of the child’s mental health .
... Como recogen Echeburúa y Guerricaechevarría (2021), en un estudio realizado por López (1997) se señaló que tan solo el 7% de las declaraciones de abuso sexual infantil resultaron ser falsas, pero, sin embargo, este porcentaje podía aumentar de forma notable cuando las denuncias se producían en el contexto de divorcio o separación (hasta el 35%). Lo que (Blush, y Ross, 1987) denominaban SAID, el síndrome de acusaciones sexuales tras el divorcio. Ahora bien, no solo estos contextos de "denuncia penal con intención de ventaja en litigio civil" se asocian a acusaciones infundadas o falsas, y deben considerarse también que algunos trastornos de personalidad y mentales lo están; que existen adolescentes que en ciertas condiciones manipulan intencionalmente el sistema; o que tales acusaciones pueden ser producto de malas prácticas de entrevista al menor, incluso (iatrogénicas) por parte de terapeutas (Mikkelsen, et al., 1992). ...
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El abuso sexual infantil (ASI) es un delito cada vez más presente en nuestra sociedad. Se plantea como objetivo analizar los datos de los informes periciales cedidos por el Instituto de Medicina Legal de Asturias (España) para determinar si las variables sexo, familiaridad con la víctima, presencia de trastorno y del Síndrome de Alienación Parental (SAP) influyen en la credibilidad del testimonio de ASI, así como observar la evolución de los testimonios no creíbles en la década 2010-2020. Se valoraron los informes de 212 sujetos (182 mujeres y 30 hombres). Se confirmó un aumento de denuncias falsas de ASI en los últimos años, además de diferencias significativas entre la credibilidad del testimonio y el sexo del sujeto, así como la familiaridad con la víctima. No se pudo establecer relación entre la credibilidad y padecer un trastorno psicológico o presentar SAP. Finalmente, se discuten las implicaciones de los hallazgos en el ámbito jurídico-forense.
... (See also Ash 1985 ; Benedek & Schetky, 1985b ;Bishop & Johnson , 1987aBlush & Ross, 1987;Bresee, Sterns, Bess, & Packer, 1986;Coleman, 1990;Coleman & Clancy, 1990;Elterman & Ehrenberg , 1991 ;Fisk, 1989 ;Gardner, 1992b;Gordon, 1985;Hindmarch, 1990;Kaplan & Kaplan, 1981;Kaser -Boyd , 1988;Mantell, 1988;Paradise, Rostain, & Nathanson, 1988 ;Rand, 1990;Schultz, 1989;Sheridan, 1990 ;Sink, 1988 ;Wakefield & Underwager, 1991 ). ...
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Ten myths associated with false allegations of sexual abuse are explored in terms of the relevant scientific literature. This literature, along with common experience, should be considered by family courts when they encounter cases involving sexual abuse allegations.
... This situation has been dealt with using other words by many other authors before and after Gardner as in the description of Duncan's (1978) "programming parent", or what Wallerstein and Kelly (1980) called "Medea Syndrome", a terminology also adopted by Jacobs (1988). Other terms that partially allude to the same concept have also been proposed, such as Blush and Ross's (1987) "SAID" syndrome (Sexual Allegations In Divorce); the term "parentectomy" of Williams (1990); the "malicious mother syndrome" of Turkat (1995); the "parental alienation" of Darnall (1999); or the reformulation of the "alienated child" by Kelly and Johnston (2001). In Spain, Granados (1987) defined some characteristics of these highly conflictive situations, highlighting the irrational aspects of these family conflicts. ...
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This paper discusses the controversy over the existence of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) or any other name it may be given. The negative judgements regarding PAS are diverse in nature: from criticism about the personality of the term’s creator, to the most repeated criticism that PAS does not exist in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. This paper analyzes some of these criticisms in the Spanish judicial context, especially those exposed in the Guidelines of the Group of Experts on the Fight against Domestic and Gender Violence of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ), published in 2016. It is argued that PAS is widely recognized by the professional and scientific community and may be described and classified in the DSM-5 as a “Parent–Child Relational Problem V61.20 (Z62.820)”.
... 24,30 Sometimes, on the opposite way, misinterpretations lead to inevitable judicial repercussions. 31 The medical investigation carried out to substantiate violence suffered is further complicated when physical examination results are totally negative; in those cases, the testimony of minor plays a significant role, as it is the only evidence of the existence of crime. The definition of abuse is quite broad and not necessarily associated with measurable, documentable "violence", which explains why the investigation shifts its focus on the psychological-behavioral aspects. ...
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Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), with special emphasis to HIV infection, involve legal and ethical issues regarding informed consent to submit to a diagnostic, observance of professional secrecy in regard to partner(s) and community; legal troubles of particular difficulties are related to STD involving minors; lastly, physicians must be able to recognize the state of so called medical necessity. Knowledge and awareness of these related obligations are crucial to STD in medical practice; it is also important to allow for proper protection of victims of suspected sexual abuse under observation of healthcare. With regard to this aspect should be emphasized that violence against women and minors is a worldwide problem that has not yet been sufficiently acknowledged. Italian legislation (Law n. 96/1996) against rapes finally gave significant relevance to sex crimes. When sexual abusers have to be evaluated some obstacles may arise for lack of appropriate interdisciplinary approach, with insurance of the collection of biological samples, also related to STD diagnosis and alerts of legal authorities. Personal preconceptions may interfere with investigation if the biological evidences in children are few. In this regard, rules of document "Carta di Noto" drafted in 1996 and reviewed in July 2002 include some specific indications aiming to grant the reliability of the results of technical investigations and authenticity of the statements of the alleged victims.
... These articles drew on small, highly selected populations that were embedded in conflictual family law litigation. The assessment schemas proposed in this literature was dominated by a true/false dichotomy (for example, Gardner 1987Gardner , 1989aGardner , 1989bGardner , 1992aGardner , 1992bGardner , 1999Gardner , 2001Green 1986Green , 1991Blush & Ross 1987;Benedek & Schetky,1987a, 1987bKaplan & Kaplan, 1981). The focus of the assessment was on the parents: the characteristics of the allegation, the alleging parent, and alleged parent and observations with the child and parents (eg Brant & Sink, 1984;Benedek & Schetky, 1987a, 1987b. ...
... Chief among these false beliefs is the theory of child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome (Sgroi, 1982;Summit, 1983;Faller, 1984), the theory of recovering forgotten childhood sexual abuse memories through imagery and suggestion (Bass & Davis, 1988), and the theory that children are incapable of lying about sexual abuse (Berliner, 1988). These fallacious theories led to a significant rise in sexual abuse cases many of which turned out to be false especially those that occurred within the context of a divorce custody or visitation dispute (Blush & Ross, 1987). ...
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The following study deals with child suggestibility and the effect that misinformation has on their ability to provide truthful testimony. A mock experiment was conducted on a group of 300 preschool age (3-6) children who participated in a staged event followed by suggestions that they experienced a non-event as well as misinformation regarding a real event. The day after the children received false suggestions and misleading information their memories were tested and the r esults indicate that young children are approximately 2.5 times more likely to report non-events as true than other children of the same age who did not receive the same level of suggestion or misleading information and approximately 4.6 times more likely to report non-events as true than adults who did receive the same level of suggestion or misleading information.
... Another similar phenomenon, "SAID" -Sexual Allegations in Divorce, proposed and labeled by Blush and Ross (1987), refers to children who lie about sexual abuse by their fathers during divorce proceedings (Blush and Ross, 1978:1). This type of "angry" child uses sex allegations in retaliation against fathers who discipline them, require them to do chores, or as revenge for their remarriage (1987:1). ...
... Another reason to go beyond consensus and the current research findings that children rarely make false allegations is that this assertion is presently being disputed by attorneys representing those accused of sexual abuse and by mental health professionals testifying on their behalf (Coleman, 1985;Guyer, 1988;McIver, 1986;Wakefield & Underwager, 1988). Moreover, some professionals are beginning to generate criteria said to be indicative of a false allegation (Benedek & Schetky, 1985;Blush & Ross, 1986;Green, 1986;Wakefield & Underwager, 1988). These challenges highlight the fundamental weakness of relying upon consensus alone. ...
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Increased professional concern regarding the evaluation of suspected child sexual abuse has focused the attention of clinicians and researchers on the statements and behaviors of children during investigative interviews. The early philosophy of "believe the children" has given way to a search for consensus among professionals who perform these evaluations regarding what criteria should be used to identify sexually abused children. A small number of researchers have studied interviews with sexually abused children where other, independent criteria for validation are also present. Although this research has revealed interesting findings indicating promise, much more research is needed.
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224 os Magistrados del Grupo de Expertas y Expertos en violencia doméstica y de género del Consejo General del Poder Judicial (CGPJ), en reunión celebrada el día 13 de octubre de 2016 aprobaron la Guía práctica de la Ley Orgánica 1/2004, de 28 de diciembre, de Medidas de Protección Integral contra la Violencia de Género (Car-mona et al., 2016). En el capítulo X de la misma, bajo el tí-tulo: Otros aspectos a tener en cuenta en la Actividad Jurisdiccional, incluyen cuatro páginas de comentarios acer-ca del llamado Síndrome de Alienación Parental (SAP). So-metemos a análisis el apartado X de esta Guía pues-en su brevedad-pretende dictar doctrina en el ámbito forense y puede servir a nuestro análisis del mito sobre la inexistencia del fenómeno SAP, basado-entre otros argumentos-en su falta de inclusión en las clasificaciones diagnósticas, cuestión concreta sobre la que se centra este artículo. El problema re-sulta de gran interés para el trabajo de todos los actores ju-rídicos afectados por estas cuestiones, dado el prestigio del CGPJ y las posibles implicaciones de esta Guía a nivel de práctica jurídica y forense. DEFINICIÓN DEL SAP Gardner (1985) acuñó el posteriormente controvertido tér-mino Síndrome de Alienación Parental (SAP), que aquí consi-deraremos equivalente al más empleado actualmente de Alienación Parental (AP), enmarcándolo principalmente den-tro del contexto de un divorcio contencioso. Lo típico del SAP es que el hijo rechace y critique reiteradamente a uno de sus progenitores. Tales críticas son injustificadas o claramente exageradas. El menor habla de ese progenitor "odiado" en términos despectivos, sin avergonzarse ni sentir culpa por ha-cerlo. A veces su discurso brota a la primera pregunta de al-guien relacionado con el conflicto (letrados, jueces, profesionales de salud mental, etc.) y adquiere la apariencia de "una letanía". En ocasiones incluso puede observarse que el discurso y el léxico del menor es muy similar al que usa el otro progenitor, al que afirma sentirse unido en exclusividad. Este rechazo es un proceso complejo, en el que juegan su pa-pel ambos progenitores y el propio hijo. En el SAP un progenitor modela o programa al hijo para que rechace al otro. Además de los mensajes procedentes del lavado de cerebro El presente artículo aborda la controversia surgida sobre la existencia del Síndrome de Alienación Parental (SAP) o cualquiera de sus denominaciones alternativas. Las críticas al SAP comprenden argumentos de diferente naturaleza: desde las críticas sobre la persona-lidad del creador del término, hasta la más repetida de que el SAP no consta en el Manual Diagnóstico y Estadístico de los Trastornos Mentales DSM-5. En este artículo se analizan algunas de esas críticas en el contexto judicial español, en particular por su relevancia, las expuestas en la Guía práctica del Grupo de Expertas y Expertos en violencia doméstica y de género del Consejo General del Po-der Judicial (CGPJ), publicada en 2016; y se argumenta cómo el SAP sí que es ampliamente reconocido por la comunidad científica y profesional, y puede ser descrito y clasificado en el DSM-5 como un "Problema de relación entre padres e hijos V61.20 (Z62.820)". Palabras clave: Síndrome de Alienación Parental, DSM, Divorcio, Niños, Distanciamiento afectivo. This paper discusses the controversy over the existence of the Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) or any other name it may be given. The negative judgements over PAS are different in nature: from criticism about the personality of the term's creator, to the most repeated one that says PAS does not exist in
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The assessment of sexual arousal, sexual interest, and cognitive distortion patterns in men accused of child molestation are significant elements in the detection and treatment of child sexual abuse perpetration. This study in- vestigated chiefly whether there was a relationship between sexual interest (utilizing psychosexual measures—Abel Assessment for Sexual Interest and Multiphasic Sex Inventory-II), and sexual arousal (utilizing a psychophysi- ological device called the Penile Plethysmograph) in an outpatient sample of men, all of whom were accused of incest within divorces and/or child custody battles. Fifty three participants, all of whom were involved in civil and/or criminal litigation at the time they retained this researcher to consult on their legal cases, voluntarily underwent Penile Plethysmograph, Abel As- sessment for Sexual Interest, and Multiphasic Sex Inventory-II testing under the direction and supervision of a clinical psychologist and board certified be- havioral analyst. Results indicated that a strong correlation existed between the Abel Screen VRT and Penile Plethysmograph, Abel Questionnaire for Men and Penile Plethysmograph, and the Multiphasic Sex Inventory-II and Penile Plethysmograph, and that sexual interest, cognitive distortions, and sexual arousal were all linked to a high degree. The present within-subject, validation research study lends further credibility to the use of the Abel As- sessment for Sexual Interest and Multiphasic Sex Inventory-II as possible re- placement measures for the more controversial phallometric procedure—the Penile Plethysmograph.
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The Psychological Abstracts for the years 1986–1989 were reviewed in order to compare psychologists' interests in mediation-related topics to the patterns found in the years 1980–1985, when there were 230 dispute resolution citations in the Psychological Abstracts. For the 1986–1989 period, 294 dispute resolution abstracts were found. The annual rate decreased consistently from 104 citations in 1986 to 43 in 1989.
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This article presents the theoretical importance and practical applications of mediative strategies in family conflicts where sexual abuse allegations are involved. Traditional approaches often further the breakdown of the family and harm the children. The linear nature of the legal system in which these conflicts are played out, the strong moral and cultural influences in issues concerning sexuality, and the approach of the professionals involved are factors considered. When multiple professionals intrude simultaneously on a family, there is severe disruption of the boundaries and internal hierarchy of the system. The process of mediation allows for effective conflict management because it is premised on systemic problem solving. The article catalogues specific mediative skills, strategies, and techniques that can be applied. It also encourages the use and incorporation of mediation in court systems to more effectively manage family conflicts such as divorce and juvenile matters, where sexual abuse is often alleged.
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In order to adequately investigate an allegation of sexual abuse, professionals must both understand the motives of the victim, perpetrator, and victim's mother (in incest cases) to lie or tell the truth and possess the techniques for examining the child's story. Children almost never make up stories about being sexually abused. In fact victims are often revictimized in multiple ways for truthfully asserting they have been sexually abused. Perpetrators usually deny their abusive behavior. Mothers may also have reasons for not acknowledging the sexual abuse. Within this larger framework, the evaluator should systematically explore the allegation in order to assure the story is true. First, in examining the story, the evaluator looks for a detailed description of events surrounding the sexual abuse, explicit information about sexual behavior told from a child's viewpoint, and an emotional response consistent with their statement. Second, the evaluator buttresses the information with other data: statements the child has made to other people about the sexual abuse; sexual content in the child's play, picture drawing or story telling; sexual behavior on the child's part; sexual knowledge beyond what one would expect for the child's age; and symptomatic behavior indicative of stress.
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The papers in this issue reflect the “state of the art” in research and thinking on children as witnesses, but the possibilities for further studies are numerous. In this article, ideas for future research on child witnesses are discussed in relation to three themes: children's ability to provide accurate testimony, emotional trauma likely to be experienced by child witnesses, and the perceived credibility of children's testimony. Proposals for improvements in legal practices are also offered. It is concluded that members of the psychological and legal communities should join in trying to solve the dilemmas posed by the child witness.
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Sexual abuse of children, though widely condemned, is nevertheless more prevalent than has been previously realized. When the accused offender does not admit guilt, the testimony of the child victim is likely to be the only or the main evidence. Members of the criminal-justice system often share general societal beliefs that children are not as credible as adults and that children cannot participate in such legal proceedings without serious trauma. In this article, we address some of the social and legal barriers to successful prosecution of child sexual abuse cases, and to the child's effective participation in such cases. Then, we discuss some steps that can be taken to help reduce, eliminate, or overcome these barriers.
Child sexual abuse is sometimes mistakenly over-reported. This discussion of seven cases focuses on one potential area which can generate a substantial segment of false positives: conflicted domestic relations litigation situation. Such situations generate striking, regressive affect and behavior especially when issues of child custody or visitation erupt. Parental regression has been discussed in the literature, but children regress too: behavioral symptoms erupt with vegetative and social disruption, and instinctual material regarding both sex and anger is more accessible to consciousness than is age-appropriate. Heightened instinctual forces in children and regressive loosening of pre-litigation character defenses in adults, both in the context of stressful family breakdown, combine to generate genuine perceptions of abuse but invalid reports.
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A single case report is presented in which the children, after a marital separation of their parents, accused the father and paternal grandparents of sexually assaulting them during the time the parents and children were still living together. The case illustrates the dilemmas that their allegations created for the therapist who was responsible for the children's evaluation during the custody suit. The therapist's efforts to resolve these dilemmas are described, and the case is discussed in terms of the literature on folie á deux.
The Best Kept Secret: Sexual Abuse of Chil-dren
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Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas. Rush, F. (1980). The Best Kept Secret: Sexual Abuse of Chil-dren. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Allegations of Sexual Abuse in Child Custody Cases. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Psy-chiatry and the Law The Testimony of the Child Victim of Sexual Assault Is the Child Victim of Sexual Abuse Telling the Truth?
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Incest Hoax: False Accusations, False Denials Sexual Abuse of Children (pp. 37-45) Englewood, CO: The American Humane Association. (Reprinted from The Bulletin Of The American Academy Of Psychiatry And The Law Child Sexual Abuse Prevention: Tips to Parents
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Goodwin, J., Sahd, D., & Rada, R.T. (1980). Incest Hoax: False Accusations, False Denials. In W.M. Holder (Ed.) Sexual Abuse of Children (pp. 37-45). Englewood, CO: The American Humane Association. (Reprinted from The Bulletin Of The American Academy Of Psychiatry And The Law, 1979,6(3).) Health and Human Services. (1984). Child Sexual Abuse Prevention: Tips to Parents (DDHS Publication No. 0 -454-460: QL 3). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Print-ing Office. Illusion Theater's Sexual Abuse Prevention Program. (1981).
Problems In The Assessment Of Sexual Abuse Referrals
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Jiles, D. (1980). Problems In The Assessment Of Sexual Abuse Referrals. Sexual Abuse of Children (pp. 59-46). Englewood, CO: The American Humane Association.
Intrafamilial Incest and Sexual Molestation of Children. The Rights of Children: Legal and Psychological Perspectives
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Paulson, M.J., Strouse, L., & Chaleff, A. (1982). Intrafamilial Incest and Sexual Molestation of Children. The Rights of Children: Legal and Psychological Perspectives (pp. 39-63).
October Allegations of Sexual Abuse in Child Custody Cases
  • E L Benedek
  • D H Schetky