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Disclosure of Child Sexual Abuse: A Review of the Contemporary Empirical Literature

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... Another problem in comparing research results has been the variation in the definitions of both CSA and disclosure. CSA definitions have differed in the types and extent of behaviors included (Bottoms et al., 2016;London et al., 2007;Olafson & Lederman, 2006). For example, some studies have included unwanted sexual experiences with peers (e.g., Priebe & Svedin, 2008;Kogan, 2004), whereas others have excluded them (e.g., Lam, 2014;Helweg-Larsen & Larsen, 2006). ...
... In the latter, children are asked to tell about their experiences, and disclosure is referred to as telling about the experience in the interview situation. It is probable that a large number of children in such settings have in fact already revealed their experiences to someone (London et al., 2007;Hershkowitz et al., 2005). In contrast, in population-based surveys, whether the participants were ever asked about CSA prior to the survey is usually unknown. ...
... The lowest disclosure rates are found in samples that include greater proportions of young children (younger than 8 years old), boys, intra-familial abuse, or particular ethnic groups (London et al., 2008). An important source of variation in disclosure rates among children undergoing forensic evaluations is the strategy chosen for distinguishing between children who were abused but do not report it and children who were not abused and do not report it (Pipe et al., 2007b;London et al., 2007). Selecting only the cases where external (medical) evidence of abuse was available led Lyon (2007) to conclude that only about half of the sexually abused children disclosed when interviewed. ...
Article
Abstract Most previous studies on disclosing child sexual abuse (CSA) have either been retrospective or focused on children who already have disclosed. The present study aimed to explore the overall CSA disclosure rate and factors associated with disclosing to adults in a large population-based sample. A representative sample of 11,364 sixth and ninth graders participated in the Finnish Child Victim Survey concerning experiences of violence, including CSA. CSA was defined as having sexual experiences with a person at least five years older at the time of the experience. Within this sample, the CSA prevalence was 2.4%. Children reporting CSA experiences also answered questions regarding disclosure, the disclosure recipient, and potential reasons for not disclosing. The results indicate that most of the children (80%) had disclosed to someone, usually a friend (48%). However, only 26% had disclosed to adults, and even fewer had reported their experiences to authorities (12%). The most common reason for non-disclosing was that the experience was not considered serious enough for reporting (41%), and half of the children having CSA experiences did not self-label their experiences as sexual abuse. Relatively few children reported lacking the courage to disclose (14%). Logistic regression analyses showed that the perpetrator’s age, the age of the victim at the time of abuse, and having no experiences of emotional abuse by the mother were associated with disclosing to an adult. The results contribute to understanding the factors underlying children’s disclosure patterns in a population-based sample and highlight the need for age-appropriate safety education for children and adolescents. Keywords Child sexual abuse Disclosure Non-disclosure
... ことから, 被害の罪種の違いが考えられる。 生命の脅威や身体への傷害を伴う場合に開示率が高ま るという指摘 (London, Bruck, Ceci, & Shuman, 2007) もある。また被疑者に関しては,被害児童と面識がな いケースの方が児童が被害を開示しやすく (Faller, 2007;London et al., 2007) ,被疑者の自白がある方が性 的虐待の開示率が高いほか,被疑者による口止めがあ る方が申告が遅れる (London et al., 2007) 。そのほか, 被害に関する医学的または物的証拠がある場合,性的 虐待の開示率が高い (London et al., 2007) 。一方,被 害が複数回の場合,各被害体験の記憶がスクリプトに 集約されるため,特定の被害エピソードに関する記憶 の詳細さは下がる (Olafson, 2007)とされ,被害回数 も児童の供述の量に影響する可能性がある。 児童の特徴をみると,性的虐待の開示に関して,女 児よりも男児の方が消極的である (Lamb et al., 2008) 一方,男女差は事前の被害申告の有無や被疑者との関 係を統制すると抑制される (Happel, 2016;London et al., 2007)ともいわれる。また,供述の詳細さに男女 差が指摘され,女児は男児に比べて一つの質問に平均 してより多くの詳細を話した (Lamb & Garretson,2003) とされる。児童の年齢については,未就学児よりも就 学 児 の 方 が 被 害 を 開 示 し や す い 一 方 (Faller, 2007;Lamb et al., 2008) ,思春期に近づくほど被害の開示が 自分や身の回りに及ぼす影響を考えて被害を開示しな くなる,という逆 U 字形の関係が指摘され (London et al., 2007) , 児童の供述との関連を調べる必要がある。 また, 児童は聴取者の期待や言語的・非言語的メッセー ジに敏感である (Dale, Loftus, & Rathbun, 1978)ため, 児童自身の被暗示性も供述に影響する可能性がある。 聴取者については,性別に関する知見がある。女性 聴取者は男児に対して,自由語りを促す誘いかけ質問 や,質問者の期待する回答が暗示されやすい誘導質問 をより多く使用し,男性聴取者は児童の性別によらず 同じ質問形態を用いる (Lamb & Garretson, 2003 ...
... ことから, 被害の罪種の違いが考えられる。 生命の脅威や身体への傷害を伴う場合に開示率が高ま るという指摘 (London, Bruck, Ceci, & Shuman, 2007) もある。また被疑者に関しては,被害児童と面識がな いケースの方が児童が被害を開示しやすく (Faller, 2007;London et al., 2007) ,被疑者の自白がある方が性 的虐待の開示率が高いほか,被疑者による口止めがあ る方が申告が遅れる (London et al., 2007) 。そのほか, 被害に関する医学的または物的証拠がある場合,性的 虐待の開示率が高い (London et al., 2007) 。一方,被 害が複数回の場合,各被害体験の記憶がスクリプトに 集約されるため,特定の被害エピソードに関する記憶 の詳細さは下がる (Olafson, 2007)とされ,被害回数 も児童の供述の量に影響する可能性がある。 児童の特徴をみると,性的虐待の開示に関して,女 児よりも男児の方が消極的である (Lamb et al., 2008) 一方,男女差は事前の被害申告の有無や被疑者との関 係を統制すると抑制される (Happel, 2016;London et al., 2007)ともいわれる。また,供述の詳細さに男女 差が指摘され,女児は男児に比べて一つの質問に平均 してより多くの詳細を話した (Lamb & Garretson,2003) とされる。児童の年齢については,未就学児よりも就 学 児 の 方 が 被 害 を 開 示 し や す い 一 方 (Faller, 2007;Lamb et al., 2008) ,思春期に近づくほど被害の開示が 自分や身の回りに及ぼす影響を考えて被害を開示しな くなる,という逆 U 字形の関係が指摘され (London et al., 2007) , 児童の供述との関連を調べる必要がある。 また, 児童は聴取者の期待や言語的・非言語的メッセー ジに敏感である (Dale, Loftus, & Rathbun, 1978)ため, 児童自身の被暗示性も供述に影響する可能性がある。 聴取者については,性別に関する知見がある。女性 聴取者は男児に対して,自由語りを促す誘いかけ質問 や,質問者の期待する回答が暗示されやすい誘導質問 をより多く使用し,男性聴取者は児童の性別によらず 同じ質問形態を用いる (Lamb & Garretson, 2003 ...
... ことから, 被害の罪種の違いが考えられる。 生命の脅威や身体への傷害を伴う場合に開示率が高ま るという指摘 (London, Bruck, Ceci, & Shuman, 2007) もある。また被疑者に関しては,被害児童と面識がな いケースの方が児童が被害を開示しやすく (Faller, 2007;London et al., 2007) ,被疑者の自白がある方が性 的虐待の開示率が高いほか,被疑者による口止めがあ る方が申告が遅れる (London et al., 2007) 。そのほか, 被害に関する医学的または物的証拠がある場合,性的 虐待の開示率が高い (London et al., 2007) 。一方,被 害が複数回の場合,各被害体験の記憶がスクリプトに 集約されるため,特定の被害エピソードに関する記憶 の詳細さは下がる (Olafson, 2007)とされ,被害回数 も児童の供述の量に影響する可能性がある。 児童の特徴をみると,性的虐待の開示に関して,女 児よりも男児の方が消極的である (Lamb et al., 2008) 一方,男女差は事前の被害申告の有無や被疑者との関 係を統制すると抑制される (Happel, 2016;London et al., 2007)ともいわれる。また,供述の詳細さに男女 差が指摘され,女児は男児に比べて一つの質問に平均 してより多くの詳細を話した (Lamb & Garretson,2003) とされる。児童の年齢については,未就学児よりも就 学 児 の 方 が 被 害 を 開 示 し や す い 一 方 (Faller, 2007;Lamb et al., 2008) ,思春期に近づくほど被害の開示が 自分や身の回りに及ぼす影響を考えて被害を開示しな くなる,という逆 U 字形の関係が指摘され (London et al., 2007) , 児童の供述との関連を調べる必要がある。 また, 児童は聴取者の期待や言語的・非言語的メッセー ジに敏感である (Dale, Loftus, & Rathbun, 1978)ため, 児童自身の被暗示性も供述に影響する可能性がある。 聴取者については,性別に関する知見がある。女性 聴取者は男児に対して,自由語りを促す誘いかけ質問 や,質問者の期待する回答が暗示されやすい誘導質問 をより多く使用し,男性聴取者は児童の性別によらず 同じ質問形態を用いる (Lamb & Garretson, 2003 ...
Article
This study explores the factors associated with the quantity and quality of children’s testimony in police interviews, focusing on the characteristics of the crime, child victims, interviewers, and interview surroundings. We collected 137 cases of children interviewed as victims of a crime by administering a questionnaire to police officers in charge of the cases across Japan. Categorical principal component analysis, applied to the officers’impressions of the child’s accounts, yielded two aspects of the testimony: the quantity/quality of testimony, and the level of usability in the investigation. Regression analyses with variable selection revealed variables associated with these two aspects. The quantity/quality of testimony was associated with the characteristics of the crime, and the interviewer’s investigation experience, empathy, and history of participation in training, while information usability was related to the children’s characteristics, and the interviewer’s opportunities to talk with children other than their own, outside of work. The timing of the interview was also suggested to be involved in the two aspects of the children’s testimony. Limitations of this study are discussed for future studies.
... Considering that (1) within the Convention on the Rights of the Child (United Nations, 1989), the fundamental document for all policy documents related to the protection of children's rights, child is defined as every human being below the age of 18 years; (2) a substantial proportion of CSA victims do not reveal the abuse to anyone during childhood and among children who do disclose during childhood, delay of disclosure is common (London, Bruck, Ceci, & Shuman, 2007;McElvaney, 2013;Olafson & Lederman, 2006); (3) even the so-called 'less severe' non-contact types of CSA may have detrimental effects (Landolt, Schnyder, Maier, & Mohler-Kuo, 2016;Paolucci et al., 2001); and (4) a significant percentage of CSA may be committed by individuals under the age of 18 (Ryan, Hunter, & Murrie, 2012), our study sought to address several gaps which characterized previous surveys on CSA prevalence among Slovak population. ...
... In this study, on average, less than half of respondents victimized during childhood disclosed abuse to another person. These findings are consistent with the previous literature uncovering a high rate of nondisclosure (Finkelhor, 1994;London et al., 2007;McElvaney, 2013;Mohler-Kuo et al., 2014;Olafson & Lederman, 2006). Multiple reasons described in the literature (e.g., Collin-Vézina, De La Sablonnière-Griffin, Palmer, & Milne, 2015;Crisma, Bascelli, Paci, & Romito, 2004;Wager, 2015) including self-blame, shame, lack of awareness of being abused, or fear of negative social reactions to disclosure, can play a role in keeping victims silent. ...
Article
Full-text available
The present study aimed to assess the prevalence and characteristics of child sexual abuse (CSA) in a large-scale sample of Slovak late adolescents. Randomized cluster sampling was used to sample 2186 students in their final school year of secondary school with mean age of 18.6 years (SD = .7 years). The study employed the Child Sexual Abuse Questionnaire consisting of multiple behavior-specific questions. The prevalence of CSA was analyzed separately for three clusters of CSA and gender. The prevalence of non-contact forms of CSA was 40.6% among girls and 17.7% among boys. CSA with physical contact without penetration was reported by 30.2% girls and 11.6% boys. The prevalence of CSA with penetration was 5.6% among girls and 1.3% among boys. More than half of CSA occurred between 16 and 18 years of age. The severity of abuse was positively associated with acquaintance to the perpetrator. Roughly 43–56% disclosed the abuse to another person. The majority of disclosed CSA was revealed to peers and partners. A negligible proportion of CSA instances were reported to the police. Prevention activities should consider a broad spectrum of CSA in order to counteract tendencies to associate CSA only with unwanted sexual intercourse.
... Some CSA literature reports that, along with delay, denial and recantation are common as well (for a review see Lyon, 2007;Malloy, Lyon, & Quas, 2007). However, large scale reviews conducted by London andcolleagues (2005, 2008) and London, Bruck, Ceci, and Shuman (2007), using studies composed in 1990 or after of clinical and forensic samples of children assessed for CSA, concluded that while many children do not spontaneously disclose abuse, the majority of abused children who come before authorities will disclose when questioned directly (M = 85% with a range of 44-96%) and are not likely to recant (roughly less than 3% of disclosers). Nonetheless, Malloy and colleagues (2007) caution that denial and recantation in formal CSA interviews increase when cases of parental abuse or nonoffending unsupportive caregivers are involved. ...
... Over 86% of participants believed victims would deny their abuse when questioned directly, and around 65% believed victims would recant their allegations when asked by someone else or when questioned by authorities. In fact, while there is some dispute in the literature about estimations of denial and recantation overall, there is evidence that for children entering the legal system denial and recantation is extremely rare (London et al., 2005(London et al., , 2007(London et al., , 2008. Malloy and colleagues (2007) reported some of the highest estimations of recantation (23.1%, n = 257), which are well below the estimations provided by this sample. ...
Article
Adults’ common beliefs about child sexual abuse and disclosure were explored. Participants (N = 670) were questioned about key areas of child sexual abuse that could affect decision-making processes of jurors evaluating child sexual abuse cases. These areas included victim and perpetrator characteristics, medical and behavioral indicators of child sexual abuse, memories for the event, and disclosure of the event. The scientific literature pertaining to these same areas are reviewed. While individual beliefs were consistent with some areas of the scientific literature (e.g., victim and perpetrator characteristics), they strongly contrasted the literature in other important areas (e.g., memories for the event, indicators of child sexual abuse, and the likelihood of denial and recantation). Implications, including the option of providing expert testimony to reduce discrepancies, are discussed.
... In order for children to describe abuse in a forensic interview, they must feel comfortable with and trust the interviewer. Children often delay disclosing (London, Bruck, Ceci, & Shuman, 2007), and when they do tell about CSA, their accounts are frequently tentative and partial (McElvaney, 2015). Research has found that disclosure increases with age (Hershkowitz, Horowitz, & Lamb, 2005), although both younger children and older children delay disclosing (Goodman-Brown, Edelstein, Goodman, Jones, & Gordon, 2003;Hershkowitz, Lanes, & Lamb, 2007;Kogan, 2004;Smith et al., 2000). ...
... The first memory retrieval of allegations of CSA is often insufficient for some children to provide a complete disclosure narrative, but consistent use of open-ended questioning can produce new information (Hershkowitz & Terner, 2007;Katz & Hershkowitz, 2013). For many children, if they have previously disclosed, they are more likely to disclose again (London et al., 2007). The number of interviews tested with children has included 4, 8, and 12 session models, with 6 sessions deemed to be the most appropriate for eliciting disclosures . ...
Article
Multiple session forensic interviews (MSFI) are a useful tool in the field of child sexual abuse forensic interviewing given the complexity of disclosures and the variety of child-centered needs observed in practice. This paper focuses on the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas (CACTX) model for conducting MSFIs, illustrated by a description of the statewide training models offered to member centers and enumeration of the MSFI protocol guidelines implemented by one center. A brief history and review of the single session forensic interview (SSFI) is provided followed by considerations for MSFIs in order to establish the development of current and new practices. Clarification of terms are outlined with examples of cases to distinguish between multiple sessions and subsequent sessions. The MSFI guidelines presented demonstrate how an MSFI can fit with the SSFI model.
... Considering that (1) within the Convention on the Rights of the Child (United Nations, 1989), the fundamental document for all policy documents related to the protection of children's rights, child is defined as every human being below the age of 18 years; (2) a substantial proportion of CSA victims do not reveal the abuse to anyone during childhood and among children who do disclose during childhood, delay of disclosure is common (London, Bruck, Ceci, & Shuman, 2007;McElvaney, 2013;Olafson & Lederman, 2006); (3) even the so-called 'less severe' non-contact types of CSA may have detrimental effects (Landolt, Schnyder, Maier, & Mohler-Kuo, 2016;Paolucci et al., 2001); and (4) a significant percentage of CSA may be committed by individuals under the age of 18 (Ryan, Hunter, & Murrie, 2012), our study sought to address several gaps which characterized previous surveys on CSA prevalence among Slovak population. ...
... In this study, on average, less than half of respondents victimized during childhood disclosed abuse to another person. These findings are consistent with the previous literature uncovering a high rate of nondisclosure (Finkelhor, 1994;London et al., 2007;McElvaney, 2013;Mohler-Kuo et al., 2014;Olafson & Lederman, 2006). Multiple reasons described in the literature (e.g., Collin-Vézina, De La Sablonnière-Griffin, Palmer, & Milne, 2015;Crisma, Bascelli, Paci, & Romito, 2004;Wager, 2015) including self-blame, shame, lack of awareness of being abused, or fear of negative social reactions to disclosure, can play a role in keeping victims silent. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
The present study aimed to assess the prevalence and characteristics of child sexual abuse (CSA) in a nationally-representative sample of Slovak late adolescents. Randomized cluster sampling plan was used to sample 2186 secondary school students in their final school year with mean age of 18.6 years (SD = 0.7 years). The study employed the Child Sexual Abuse Questionnaire (Mohler-Kuo et al., 2014) consisting of multiple behavior-specific questions. The prevalence of CSA was analyzed separately for three clusters of CSA and gender. The self-reported lifetime prevalence of at least one form of CSA was 47.3% among girls and 22.0% among boys. The prevalence of noncontact forms of CSA was 40.6% among girls and 17.7% among boys. CSA with physical contact without penetration was reported by 30.2% girls and 11.6% boys. The prevalence of CSA with penetration was 5.6% among girls and 1.3% among boys. More than half of CSA occurred between 16-18 year of age in all three CSA cluster types. The severity of abuse was positively associated with the acquaintance with the perpetrator. Roughly 43-56% disclosed the abuse to another person. The majority of disclosed CSA was revealed to peers and partners. Negligible proportion of CSA instances were reported to the police. The results show that CSA is a widespread and considerably covert phenomenon within the population of Slovak late adolescents. Prevention activities should consider broad spectrum of CSA forms in order to counteract tendencies to associate CSA only with unwanted sexual intercourse.
... Where suspicions are unfounded, the fact that children do not disclose abuse is obviously not a problem of nondisclosure, whereas in cases where suspicions are unfounded and children do disclose, there is a problem of "wrong" disclosure. In other words, forensic samples are not suitable for investigating the prevalence of disclosure (Azzopardi et al., 2019;London et al., 2007;. To conclude, it should be noted that, despite the different approaches discussed above, there is agreement that delayed CSA disclosures are not rare, and there are children who do not disclose even when questioned directly about their abuse experiences (Azzopardi et al., 2019;. ...
... In contrast, adolescents preferred to disclose to friends significantly more often than younger children. This is in line with findings on CSA disclosures using the same data, suggesting that a younger age at the time of the incident increases the likelihood of disclosing to adults (Lahtinen et al., 2018), and it is also in line with some earlier CSA disclosure studies (Kogan, 2004;London et al., 2007). As research in the field of developmental psychology (Arnett & Hughes, 2012) shows, peers are generally the primary reference group with whom teenagers are likely to share their thoughts and experiences with. ...
Article
Few studies have explored the disclosure of child physical abuse although child sexual abuse disclosure has been widely studied and debated for years. The present study explores the characteristics of child physical abuse disclosures and compares them to previously published findings on child sexual abuse disclosure from the same data. The data consist of a representative sample of 11,364 sixth and ninth graders. Participants responded to a wide variety of questions concerning experiences of violence, including child physical abuse and child sexual abuse, in the Finnish Child Victim Survey conducted in 2013. Within this sample, the prevalence of child physical abuse was 4.1%. Children reporting abuse experiences also responded to questions regarding disclosure, reactions encountered during disclosure, and potential reasons for nondisclosure. Findings show that most of the children who disclosed physical violence had disclosed to their mother. The overall disclosure rate of child physical abuse was 74%. However, only 42% had disclosed to adults, and even fewer had reported their experiences to authorities (12%). The most common reason for nondisclosure was that the youth did not consider the experience sufficiently serious to report (53%). These findings were largely in line with the child sexual abuse disclosure rates in our previous study. Analyses of variables associated with disclosing to an adult indicate that the strongest factors predicting disclosure to an adult are younger age, female gender, no previous experiences of child physical abuse, and parents knowing who their child spends her or his spare time with. Implications for further research and practice are discussed.
... The authors noted that children's perceived support played a role in their willingness to disclose and children often told for the purpose of stopping the abuse and getting help in response to being asked questions. Subsequent reviews have confirmed many of Paine and Hansen's (2002) findings, despite focusing on different populations (Alaggia et al., 2019;Lemaigre et al., 2017;London et al., 2007;McElvaney, 2015;Morrison et al., 2018;Reitsema and Grietens, 2016;Tener and Murphy, 2015). Nevertheless, non-disclosure and delayed disclosure continue to be prevalent among children and adolescents who experience sexual abuse. ...
... The reviews noted above have also included both studies of adults and children/adolescents in their reviews, acknowledging that different factors may influence disclosure at different junctures across a lifespan. London et al. (2007), while providing distinct reviews of adult studies (n = 13) and those that drew on child and adolescent samples (n = 34), did not distinguish between the findings from qualitative and quantitative studies. In addition, these studies represented quite distinct populations: adult participants were describing informal disclosure, such as disclosure to a friend or someone in their social network, while child participants were describing formal disclosure in the context of forensic evaluations, as distinct from the informal disclosure that often precedes such evaluations. ...
... Considering that (1) within the Convention on the Rights of the Child (United Nations, 1989), the fundamental document for all policy documents related to the protection of children's rights, child is defined as every human being below the age of eighteen years; (2) substantial proportion of CSA victims do not reveal the abuse to anyone during childhood and among children who do disclose during childhood, delay of disclosure is common (London et al., 2007;McElvaney, 2015;Olafson & Lederman, 2006); (3) even the so-called 'less severe' non-contact types of CSA may have detrimental effects (Landolt et al., 2016;Paolucci et al., 2001), and (4) a significant percentage of CSA may be committed by individuals under the age of 18 (Ryan et al., 2012), our study purposed to cover several gaps which characterized previous surveys on CSA prevalence among Slovak population. ...
... In our study, on average, less than half of respondents victimized during childhood disclosed abuse to another person. Our findings are in line with previous research literature uncovering a high rate of nondisclosure (Finkelhor, 1994;London et al., 2007;McElvaney, 2015;Mohler-Kuo et al., 2014;Olafson & Lederman, 2006). Multiple reasons described in research literature (e.g. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
The present study aimed to assess the prevalence and characteristics of child sexual abuse (CSA) in a large-scale sample of Slovak late adolescents. Randomized cluster sampling was used to sample 2186 students in their final school year of secondary school with mean age of 18.6 years (SD = .7 years). The study employed the Child Sexual Abuse Questionnaire consisting of multiple behavior-specific questions. The prevalence of CSA was analyzed separately for three clusters of CSA and gender. The prevalence of non-contact forms of CSA was 40.6% among girls and 17.7% among boys. CSA with physical contact without penetration was reported by 30.2% girls and 11.6% boys. The prevalence of CSA with penetration was 5.6% among girls and 1.3% among boys. More than half of CSA occurred between 16 and 18 years of age. The severity of abuse was positively associated with acquaintance to the perpetrator. Roughly 43–56% disclosed the abuse to another person. The majority of disclosed CSA was revealed to peers and partners. A negligible proportion of CSA instances were reported to the police. Prevention activities should consider a broad spectrum of CSA in order to counteract tendencies to associate CSA only with unwanted sexual intercourse.
... The authors noted that children's perceived support played a role in their willingness to disclose and children often told for the purpose of stopping the abuse and getting help in response to being asked questions. Subsequent reviews have confirmed many of Paine and Hansen's (2002) findings, despite focusing on different populations (Alaggia et al., 2019;Lemaigre et al., 2017;London et al., 2007;McElvaney, 2015;Morrison et al., 2018;Reitsema and Grietens, 2016;Tener and Murphy, 2015). Nevertheless, non-disclosure and delayed disclosure continue to be prevalent among children and adolescents who experience sexual abuse. ...
... The reviews noted above have also included both studies of adults and children/adolescents in their reviews, acknowledging that different factors may influence disclosure at different junctures across a lifespan. London et al. (2007), while providing distinct reviews of adult studies (n = 13) and those that drew on child and adolescent samples (n = 34), did not distinguish between the findings from qualitative and quantitative studies. In addition, these studies represented quite distinct populations: adult participants were describing informal disclosure, such as disclosure to a friend or someone in their social network, while child participants were describing formal disclosure in the context of forensic evaluations, as distinct from the informal disclosure that often precedes such evaluations. ...
Article
The increasing use of qualitative methodologies to explore experiences of child sexual abuse (CSA) disclosure has led to the need to synthesise these findings. Recent reviews have tended to focus on the barriers to disclosure more than the facilitators or to conflate findings from studies of adults and studies of children and adolescents. This paper focuses on a qualitative meta‐analysis of studies conducted in the past 20 years (1998–2018) that addresses the question of what helps children disclose experiences of CSA. An analysis of 20 studies that met the inclusion criteria suggests that six key themes are important facilitators of disclosure: access to someone you can trust; realising it's not normal; inability to cope with emotional distress; wanting something to be done about it; expecting to be believed; and being asked. These can be conceptualised as representing two key dynamics that help children tell: needing to tell (pressure cooker effect), and opportunity to tell. Professionals and carers can facilitate the process of disclosure through building trusting relationships with children, recognising their distress and initiating conversations with children about their wellbeing. ‘A qualitative meta‐analysis of studies conducted in the past 20 years (1998–2018) that addresses the question of what helps children disclose experiences of CSA’ Key Practitioner Messages • There is a need for the focus to be on what helps children tell rather than what hinders children telling. • Children need those around them to notice when they need to talk about themselves and what is happening in their lives – when they are unable to cope with their distress, when they want something done about it. • Professionals and adults interacting with children need to ask children about their lives and wellbeing, in order to: help create opportunities for children to tell; help them access someone they can trust; let them know they will be taken seriously; and help them to understand that abusive behaviour is not normal.
... Integral to prosecutorial proceedings are the investigative steps completed, including the forensic interview, which elicits a child's disclosure narrative. Children's disclosure statements are often the primary evidence available for making judgements about CSA ( London et al., 2007) and are pivotal to prosecution. As the field continues to explore changes in CSA prevalence and incidence estimates, examining the prosecutorial process can elucidate the dynamics influencing substantiation and the role of prosecutorial decision-making. ...
Article
Prosecution of child sexual abuse cases is an important aspect of a community's response for holding perpetrators accountable and protecting children. Differences in charging rates across jurisdictions may reflect considerations made in prosecutors' decision-making process. This mixed-methods, multiphase study used data from a Children's Advocacy Center in a suburban county in the Southern United States to explore the factors associated with child sexual abuse cases that are accepted for prosecution and the process followed by prosecutors. Data were sequentially linked in three phases (qualitative-quantitative-qualitative), incorporating 1) prosecutor perceptions about what case characteristics affect charging potential, 2) 100 case records and forensic interviews, and 3) in-depth reviews of cases prosecuted. Content analysis was used to identify influential case elements, logistic regression modeling was used to determine factors associated with a decision to prosecute, and framework analysis was used to further confirm and expand upon case factors. Overall, findings indicate that prosecution is most strongly predicted by caregiver support and the availability of other evidence. The decision to prosecute was found to include a process of ongoing evaluation of the evidence and determination of a balanced approach to justice. The decision to prosecute a case can be influenced by strong and supportive investigative practices. An important implication is that interaction among multidisciplinary professionals promotes communication and efforts, further enhancing discretion about potential legal actions.
... One exploratory hypothesis we examined was whether participants who met criteria for MD would account for the majority of inconsistent responses, consistent with literature suggesting these respondents may not be as reliable informants (Bernstein and Fink, 1998). However, we found that the most common response pattern of MD participants was to deny maltreatment across both instruments, suggesting that individuals in denial of painful childhood experiences are likely to under-endorse them consistently across multiple instruments and time points (London, Bruck, Ceci, & Shuman, 2007). It is unlikely that MD individuals simply did not experience childhood maltreatment for two reasons. ...
Article
The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) scale and the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) are among the most widely used instruments for assessing childhood maltreatment, yet the convergent validity and concordance of their maltreatment subscales has only been examined in one previous non-U.S. study. This study represents the first replication and extension study to address the strengths and weaknesses of relying on the five-item ACEs maltreatment scale versus the 28-item CTQ. Participants were 77 low-income, ethnically-diverse women (M = 29.19, SD = 6.55, range = 18–44 years; 34% Latina, 24% White, 22% African-American, 20% biracial/multiracial/other; 18% Spanish-speaking) who completed the ACEs scale during pregnancy and the CTQ at three months post-partum. We hypothesized that total childhood maltreatment scores and maltreatment subtypes would be significantly associated, indicating concordance across instruments. We also conducted sensitivity and specificity analyses to determine the extent to which ACEs maltreatment subtypes correctly predicted corresponding CTQ subtypes and performed exploratory analyses on minimization/denial (MD) and inconsistent responding across instruments. Results supported generally good convergent validity of total childhood maltreatment and most subtype scores across instruments. Sexual abuse had the highest sensitivity and specificity, while physical neglect was most prone to underreporting on the ACEs scale. A small subset of women were characterized by high MD, reflecting tendencies to minimize their maltreatment histories across both instruments and also report significantly lower contemporaneous depression and PTSD symptoms than women with low MD. This study informs strengths and tradeoffs of two well-known instruments for assessing retrospectively-reported childhood maltreatment in low-income, vulnerable populations.
... 25 In our sample, 86% of the victims gave an initial disclosure before their cases were reported to authorities, which may reflect the child's willingness to disclose the details of the event during the formal interview. 26 Our study failed to demonstrate that children of younger age (<7 years) and with intellectual disability (IQ<70) can reduce the likelihood of a credible judgment made by the child psychiatrist. This contradicts previously established findings on this subject. ...
Article
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Objective: We intended to analyze the credibility judgment in written forensic psychiatric reports of child sexual abuse registered in Southern Taiwan. Methods: Ninety-six cases of child sexual abuse between August 2010 and October 2017 encountered in two hospitals were analyzed. The. Results: in these reports were categorized into credible and non-credible. We identified the factors that distinguished between the two groups in bivariate analyses using chi-square test. A binary logistic regression analysis was performed to determine whether the factors that significantly correlated in the bivariate analyses were independent predictors of credible judgments. Results: Among 96 cases, 70 (73%) were judged as credible. Consistent testimonies of children (odds ratio=40.82) and multiple abuse events (odds ratio=6.05) were positive variables independently related to the sexual abuse allegations judged as credible. Conclusion: The number of allegations judged as credible in this study was slightly higher than that reported in other studies. Our findings about predictors for credible cases are not in line with those reported previously. Due to the differences in resources of the cases and backgrounds of the evaluators among multiple studies, direct comparisons with previous studies must be treated with caution.
... Ils ne sont donc pas en mesure de comprendre l'objet de l'entrevue d'enquête London et al., 2005London et al., , 2008Schaeffer et al., 2011;Hershkowitz et al., 2005). Les enfants plus âgés (10 ans et plus) ainsi que les adolescents pourraient se trouver plus fortement embarrassés par les agressions London, Bruck, Ceci et Shuman, 2007), en proie à la honte pour ne pas avoir pu prévenir ou arrêter les sévices, s'imputant une responsabilité dans leur survenue ou anticipant plus de conséquences négatives à la dénonciation (Goodman-Brown et al., 2003). Dans l'étude d'Alain et ses collaborateurs (2018), le délai entre l'AS et son dévoilement était plus long chez les adolescents (âgés entre 12 et 17 ans) que chez les enfants (âgés entre 3 et 11 ans). ...
Article
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Le dévoilement d’une agression sexuelle est une étape critique pour entreprendre des mesures légales et de protection bien que plusieurs enfants soient résistants à dévoiler. Cet article présente une recension des écrits sur le processus de dévoilement dans le cadre de l’entrevue d’enquête et sur les facteurs associés au phénomène de la résistance. Les enjeux méthodologiques pour les recherches futures sont discutés, dont l’importance d’une conceptualisation multidimensionnelle du dévoilement et d’une approche multifactorielle des prédicteurs de la résistance au dévoilement. Enfin, les recommandations pour l’utilisation des méthodes d’entrevue les plus susceptibles de conduire à des dévoilements exacts et détaillés de même que l’intérêt de ces connaissances pour les cliniciens sont présentés.
... Most survivors will disclose to someone, usually a close friend or family member: 96% of adult survivors, 60-85% of adolescent survivors, and 34% of child survivors confide in such informal sources at some point in their lifetime (Jacques-Tiura, Tkatch, Abbey, & Wegner, 2010;London, Bruck, Ceci, & Shuman, 2007;Rickert, Wiemann, & Vaughan, 2005). Survivors disclose for varied reasons and most simply want their experiences to be witnessed by a trusted person in their life (Ahrens, Campbell, Ternier-Thames, Wasco, & Sefl, 2007;Fehler-Cabral & Campbell, 2013;Jacques-Tiura et al., 2010). ...
Article
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Sexual violence is a devastating trauma with long-lasting effects on survivors’ health and well-being. Despite the substantial impacts of the last 25 years of research, the prevalence of sexual violence has remained stable. It will be necessary to reconceptualize our work, challenging our theories, methods, and strategies for dissemination and implementation moving forward. We outline an intersectional, community-engaged approach for sexual violence research to center the stories of survivors who face systemic oppression and inequity. Finally, we suggest applications of this approach for justice, healing, and prevention to inform our collective work to end sexual violence.
... For instance, recent research has shown that the likelihood of disclosure of CSA increases among children until the age of 11 before it drops continuously until the age of 16 (Leach, Powell, Sharman, & Anglim, 2017). Several reasons for this observation are advanced in the literature: (a) Adolescents would be more ashamed to disclose a CSA than younger children (London, Bruck, Ceci, & Shuman, 2007); (b) they would experience more fear of reprisals from the perpetrator(s) than young children (Goodman-Brown, Edelstein, Goodman, Jones, & Gordon, 2003;Malloy, Brubacher, & Lamb, 2011); and finally, (c) they would not consider some abuses as CSA (Bunting, 2008). ...
Article
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One of the most debated issues in relation to child sexual abuse (CSA) is whether there should be a limitation period for prosecutions. In 2017 a French ministerial report was released proposing extension of the limitation period in part because of the sometimes long delay between the alleged events and the disclosure of the abuse. For this, the report relied on dissociative amnesia. It also advocated for the development of child victim interview protocols by victim associations. We show that dissociative amnesia is not consensual within the scientific community. Instead, we recommend scientifically reliable cognitive principles to explain the lack of memory. Moreover, interviewing techniques for children have already been designed by memory researchers to enhance recall and report of CSA, from which any uncontrolled deviation might put the child’s testimony at risk. We conclude by advocating for the use of evidence-based psychology, and for co-operation between practitioners, judges and researchers.
... Previous research suggests that such reports are associated with valid disclosures (London, Bruck, Ceci, & Shuman, 2007), but such validation does not involve evidence as distinctive as medical or eye-witness testimony (Horowitz et al., 1995). ...
Article
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Child maltreatment victims are often reluctant to report abuse when formally interviewed. Evidence-based guidelines like the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Standard Investigative Interview Protocol do not adequately address such reluctance because they are focused on cognitive rather than socioemotional strategies. The present study was designed to determine whether the Revised National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Protocol, which emphasizes supportive interviewing more than the standard protocol does, might predict increases in the overall informativeness and reductions in the reluctance of alleged victims. A total of 254 interviews, 166 using the revised protocol and 88 using the standard protocol, were conducted with 4.06- to 13.98-year-old children (M = 9.20, SD = 2.49) who disclosed multiple incidents of physical abuse by their parents and were thus expected to be more reluctant than victims of extrafamilial abuse. We coded indices of interviewer support and question types, children’s reluctance, and informativeness in each utterance during the substantive phases of the interviews. The Revised Protocol was associated with better interviewer support and questioning as well as reduced reluctance and increased informativeness on the part of the children. These findings document the value of training interviewers to attend to the socioemotional needs of suspected abuse victims during investigative interviews.
... 156). London and colleagues have authored several papers examining disclosure patterns in sexually abused children and have critiqued the scientific foundation of his theory ( London et al., 2005( London et al., , 2007( London et al., , 2008McGuire & London, 2020). ...
Chapter
Across the westernized world, sexual misconduct allegations that are brought forward months, years, or even decades after the alleged assaults are commonplace. In the current chapter, we review the scientific literature regarding delayed reporting of child sexual abuse (CSA). We review the scientific literature regarding delayed disclosures of CSA using two sources: 1) children undergoing forensic or clinical evaluations for sexual abuse and 2) retrospective survey samples of adolescents and adults with self-reported CSA histories. We present this review in a historical backdrop of common beliefs among frontline professionals and compare and contrast these beliefs with the scientific evidence on disclosure. One central conclusion is that CSA disclosure rates are increasing in younger cohorts. Further, length of delay is positively skewed with many people telling soon after the CSA while others wait considerable lengths of time. In addition, we discuss the memory research regarding the impact of delay on memory deterioration and suggestibility. We conclude by discussing the forensic implications of delayed reports in cases involving CSA allegations. We also discuss the probative value of expert testimony regarding delayed disclosure given laypeople’s knowledge and perceptions of delayed disclosure of CSA.
... In a study of 487 men, for example, where the mean age of onset was 10.3 years, it took participants an average of 21 years to tell someone, and the mean age at the time of first telling was 32 (Easton 2013). A comprehensive review of studies found that 60-70% of adult survivors did not disclose during childhood (London et al. 2007). Rigorous research has illuminated a range of factors influencing non-disclosure and delayed disclosure, with these factors related to the child, to the offender, and to society (Collin-Vézina et al. 2015;Fontes and Plummer 2010). ...
Article
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Empirical analysis has found that mandatory reporting legislation has positive effects on case identification of child sexual abuse both initially and over the long term. However, there is little analysis of the initial and ongoing impact on child protection systems of the rate of reports that are made if a reporting duty for child sexual abuse is introduced, especially when compared with rates of reports for other kinds of child maltreatment. This research analysed government administrative data at the unique child level over a seven-year period to examine trends in reports of child sexual abuse, compared with child physical abuse, in two Australian states having different socio-legal dimensions. Data mining generated descriptive statistics and rates per 100,000 children involved in reports per annum, and time trend sequences in the seven-year period. The first state, Western Australia, introduced the legislative reporting duty in the middle of the seven-year period, and only for sexual abuse. The second state, Victoria, had possessed mandatory reporting duties for both sexual and physical abuse for over a decade. Our analysis identified substantial intra-state increases in the reporting of child sexual abuse attributable to the introduction of a new legislative reporting duty, and heightened public awareness resulting from major social events. Victoria experienced nearly three times as many reports of physical abuse as Western Australia. The relative burden on the child protection system was most clearly different in Victoria, where reports of physical abuse were relatively stable and two and a half times higher than for sexual abuse. Rates of children in reports, even at their single year peak, indicate sustainable levels of reporting for child welfare agencies. Substantial proportions of reports were made by both legislatively mandated reporters, and non-mandated community members, suggesting that government agencies would benefit from engaging with communities and professions to enhance a desirable reporting practice.
... Thus, understanding why victims disclose their abuse during forensic interviews may elucidate the nature of disclosure and suggest new practice methods to facilitate disclosure. Literature focusing on factors that influence children's disclosure during forensic interviews has demonstrated that being male, young, experiencing less severe abuse, having a close relationship with the offender, and an unsupportive caregiver were the main risk factors for delaying disclosure (Lippert, Cross, Jones, & Walsh, 2009;London et al., 2005London et al., , 2007London, Bruck, Wright, & Ceci, 2008;Paine & Hansen, 2002). ...
Article
The present review aims to address child abuse, a phenomenon to which society has become more aware and directed more efforts, and the role that health and education professionals can play in its prevention and intervention. Based on the premise that professionals with a primary role of working with children, who may have the first contact with them after a situation of abuse, are mostly in the fields of health and education, it is important to reflect on their practices in these cases, which have particular relevance in order to avoid potential situations of secondary victimization, contamination of speech, or even withdrawal of revelation. This review examines the preparation of these professionals to address the allegedly abused child and to report abuse if they feel fit to take appropriate action, focuses mainly on the context of Portugal. What the literature shows is that there are still difficulties in making decisions and taking action in situations where abuse is suspected, based on physical or behavioral evidence from the child, or before his/her disclosure. Further studies are needed on the knowledge of the actions to be taken, and on the actions taken before there is a referral to the competent entities by these professionals. Moreover, there is a discussion on the need to develop training as well as brief and structured protocols for action, in this first line of intervention, when facing potential situations of child abuse.
... Les recherches conduites au cours des vingt dernières années ont permis des avancées importantes pour améliorer les techniques d'entrevue d'enquête auprès des mineurs et d'adapter celles-ci en fonction des capacités cognitives des enfants (Cyr, 2014 ;Cyr, Dion et Powell, 2014 ;Saywitz et Camparo, 2009). Néanmoins, une proportion significative d'enfants résistent à dévoiler leur agression sexuelle (AS) et à collaborer lors de ces entrevues (Hershkowitz, Orbach et al., 2007 ;London, Bruck, Ceci et Shuman, 2007). Même lorsque les enfants décident de dévoiler les mauvais traitements dont ils sont victimes, cette collaboration est fréquemment ponctuée de moments de résistance et certains enfants omettent de dévoiler des détails importants (Cederborg, Lamb et Laurell, 2007). ...
Article
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Plusieurs facteurs sont susceptibles d’influencer la dynamique des entrevues d’enquête menées auprès d’enfants que l’on soupçonne victimes d’agression sexuelle (AS). Cette étude vise à examiner l’effet du soutien de l’intervieweur, des caractéristiques de l’enfant et de l’AS alléguée sur la collaboration offerte par l’enfant. Ainsi, 90 entrevues conduites par des policiers auprès d’enfants âgés de 4 à 13 ans ont été transcrites et analysées à l’aide de grilles mesurant le soutien et le non-soutien offerts verbalement par les intervieweurs et les comportements de collaboration et de résistance exprimés par les enfants. Des analyses de variance multivariées indiquent que les intervieweurs se comportent de façon similaire, peu importe l’âge de l’enfant, et que les jeunes enfants collaborent significativement moins que les préadolescents. Les résultats des régressions multiples hiérarchiques indiquent que le soutien offert par l’intervieweur est un facteur important associé tant à la collaboration qu’à la résistance de l’enfant. Le soutien des intervieweurs est un facteur plus important que les caractéristiques des enfants ou de leurs agressions pour expliquer la résistance des enfants. La discussion aborde l’importance du soutien pour aider les enfants à collaborer lorsqu’ils dévoilent leur AS.
... Une étude a par exemple montré que si la probabilité pour des victimes de révéler des violences sexuelles subies lors d'un entretien de police augmente jusqu'à l'âge de 11 ans, cette probabilité chute sans discontinuer jusqu'à 16 ans (i.e., âge le plus élevé pris en compte dans l'étude ; Leach, Powell, Sharman, & Anglim, 2017). Plusieurs explications ont été avancées à cette évolution : (i) en grandissant, les adolescents ressentiraient plus de honte à aborder de tels faits (London, Bruck, Ceci, & Shuman, 2007) ; (ii) les adolescents ressentiraient plus de peurs d'éventuelles représailles de la part de l'agresseur (Goodman-Brown, Edelstein, Goodman, Jones, & Gordon, 2003) ; et (iii) ils ne percevraient pas certaines violences comme des violences sexuelles (e.g., dans le cadre de relations amoureuses ; Bunting, 2008). ...
Article
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Les années 1990 ont été le théâtre d’une vive opposition entre les partisans de l’idée de refoulement traumatique et les sceptiques, expliquant qu’un tel concept n’était pas soutenu par des preuves scientifiques. Aujourd’hui plus volontiers nommé amnésie dissociative et inclus dans la 5ème édition du manuel diagnostique et statistique des troubles mentaux, ce concept est toujours largement utilisé par les psychologues, alors même que ses preuves d’existence sont toujours peu convaincantes. Dans cet article, nous proposons un regard critique du concept, passons en revue les preuves avancées par ses défenseurs et développons leurs limites méthodologiques et conceptuelles. Nous proposons aussi des mécanismes alternatifs pour expliquer le phénomène des souvenirs retrouvés : faux souvenirs, réinterprétation d’événements traumatiques, stratégies d’évitement, etc. Enfin, nous terminons par un appel à la prudence à destination de la communauté scientifique et clinique.
... Att sexuella övergrepp trots sociala fördömanden fortfarande är svåra att tala om har också blivit välkänt. Mörkertalet anses vara stort (London et al. 2007, Svedin 2002. En mängd studier visar att avslöjanden är förknippade med negativa reaktioner, rädsla, skuld, skamkänslor och hänsyn till förövare och föräldrar (se exempelvis Carlsson kommande, Frenken & Van Stolk 1990, Graham-Dickerson 2001, Herbert & Dunkel-Schetter 1992, Svedin & Back 2003, Ullman 2003 och att det är förbundet med större fara och misstro från omgivningen att berätta i barndomen än när man blivit vuxen (Jonzon 2006, Roesler & Wind 1994, speciellt om förövaren är en släkting (Ullman 2007). ...
Article
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Är det tillåtet att avslöja sexuella övergrepp och vad kan hända den som gör det? I artikeln diskuteras konstruktioner av utsatta flickor och kvinnor, och kvinnors tolkningar av utrymmet att tala, före och med början vid de svenska sexualbrottsdebatterna.
... Indeed, studies have pointed to the central role of perpetrator identity as affecting victim response patterns (e.g. Cromer & Smyth, 2010;Freyd, Klest, & Allard, 2005;Lawyer, Ruggiero, Resnick, Kilpatrick, & Saunders, 2006;London, Bruck, Ceci, & Shuman, 2007). Jeniffer Freyd (1998) theorized that sense of betrayal is generated from an abuse being carried by a perpetrator who is a family member. ...
Article
Background Child sexual abuse (CSA) studies have greatly contributed to theory, policy, and practice worldwide. Surprisingly, although trauma studies in particular have highlighted the importance of peritraumatic responses to trauma, this aspect is underdeveloped in the context of child abuse studies. Objective The current study profiles the peritraumatic responses of children to abuse, based on adults’ retrospective accounts of their childhood experiences. Participants & methods 180 adults who retrospectively reported having been sexually abused in childhood completed a questionnaire that included four categories of common peritraumatic responses to CSA: automatic, behavioral, cognitive and affective. Results Latent class analysis revealed a number of classes in each of the questionnaire’s four categories. Within each, classes were identified and the relationships within and between them, as well as with abuse characteristics were explored. Conclusions Existing theory with respect to peritraumatic responses to trauma, and to CSA in particular, should be reconsidered based on the multifaceted model proposed in the current study. The findings point to a previously unrecognized peritraumatic response to trauma: numbness and seeking ways to survive ongoing abuse. Finally, recommendations are provided for incorporating the current model in both prevention and intervention efforts in the CSA field.
Article
This study examines the correlation between the consistency in a child’s sexual abuse outcry and the prosecutorial decision to accept or reject cases of child sexual abuse. Case-specific information was obtained from one Texas Children’s Advocacy Center on all cases from 2010 to 2013. After the needed deletion, the total number of cases included in the analysis was 309. An outcry was defined as a sexual abuse disclosure. Consistency was measured at both the forensic interview and the sexual assault exam. Logistic regression was used to evaluate whether a correlation existed between disclosure and prosecutorial decisions. Disclosure was statistically significant. Partial disclosure (disclosure at one point in time and denial at another) versus full disclosure (disclosure at two points in time) had a statistically significant odds ratio of 4.801. Implications are discussed, specifically, how the different disciplines involved in child protection should take advantage of the expertise of both forensic interviewers and forensic nurses to inform their decisions.
Article
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Purpose: Children sometimes receive misinformation after being formally interviewed about their experiences in cases of suspected abuse. Following decades of research, many guidelines have been produced for interviewers so they can obtain reliable statements in children, like for example the NICHD Protocol. One might expect that completing an early interview following research-based guidelines might guard against the incorporation of misinformation encountered later. The goal of the current experiments was to examine whether following research-basedguidelines such as the NICHD Protocol might protect child witnesses against follow-up‘misinformation’ or make them more vulnerable to misinformation. This increased vulnerability to misinformation has been referred to as retrieval-enhanced suggestibility. Methods: In two experiments, children viewed a video and half of them were interviewed using the NICHD Protocol while the other half were not interviewed. The children received misinformation and a final memory test either immediately after being interviewed (Experiment 1) or one week later (Experiment 2). Results: Retrieval-enhanced suggestibility was observed when misinformation was presented immediately but not when it was provided after one week. Conclusions: The current experiments indicate that a well-established interview protocol can, under some circumstances, amplify levels of suggestibility in children.
Article
The current study investigated (a) the effect of legislative reforms and amendments to judges’ directions to juries in the success of appeals against conviction for child sexual abuse and (b) the role of delay between the offence(s) and the trial in these appeals. Appeals listed in the Victorian Court of Appeal in Australia between 2004 and 2014 were identified. Data were extracted for a number of variables including the appeal's success and the delay between the first offence and the trial. Of the 238 appeals identified, 118 (49.6%) were successful. Legislative reform showed the only significant difference between successful and unsuccessful appeals: There were more successful appeals than expected following legislative changes in 2006. Delay was raised as a ground for appeal in 11 of the 118 successful cases. Delay was associated with the ages of the victims and offenders, sex of the victims, and the victim–offender relationship. Overall, the results do not appear consistent with the goal of the reforms, which was to avoid appeals and retrials that may have occurred as a result of judicial error. Future research should determine whether the trend towards higher success of appeals is continuing, particularly in light of further legislative changes.
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Rates of sexual assault remain high in Jamaica, although victims are often reluctant to report incidences to the police. Those cases which are reported by victims are investigated by the Jamaica Constabulary Force's Centre for Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA). Whilst improvements have been noted in recent years, human rights organisations have highlighted on-going limitations of such investigations and the effective interviewing of victims. Despite this, a paucity of relevant research has prevented the development of empirically driven training aimed at supporting practitioners to deal with everyday challenges while interviewing vulnerable victims in Jamaica. Consequently, the present study sought to assess the challenges involved in interviewing victims of sexual offences in Jamaica and the cultural factors that may underline them. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 41 police interviewers using thematic analysis to interpret the data. Analysis showed that organisational challenges such as training, expertise and capacity deficiencies, and early mishandlings with victims were detrimental to the quality of the interviews conducted. Psychological challenges included the need to be adaptive during interviews, spotting and dealing with deception, and separating work and personal life. Two key cultural factors were also revealed: the misconception that sex is just sex which reduced victim cooperation and a trend for attitude-shifting through policies which hinted that the Jamaican police culture towards victims changes gradually as new policies are introduced while victims are reportedly more willing to report the crimes against them.
Article
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Štúdia sa venuje otázke výskytu sexuálneho zneužívania detí (CSA) a problému latencie. Upozorňuje, že pri úsilí o identifikáciu prípadov CSA hrozí dvojaké riziko mylných záverov (mylne pozitívne a mylne negatívne závery). Zdôrazňuje, že nepodložené a nepravdivé obvinenia nie sú synonymom krivých obvinení a ponúka prierez teoretickým modelom ciest k nepravdivým obvineniam z CSA. Sumarizuje výsledky a limity zahraničných výskumov o výskyte krivých obvinení z CSA. Objasňuje prečo profesionálna skúsenosť ani systematické metódy posudzovania vierohodnosti výpovede nie sú spoľahlivými nástrojmi na odhalenie krivých obvinení z CSA. Pobáda k obozretnosti pred trúfalými tvrdeniami o výskyte krivých obvinení z CSA.
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Socio-emotional dynamics were examined in 230 forensic interviews of 3- to -13-year-old Israeli children who disclosed chronic physical abuse that could be substantiated. Half of the children were interviewed using the Standard (SP) National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Protocol and the others using the Revised Protocol (RP) that emphasized emotional support from interviewers. When children disclosed physical abuse in the RP interviews, they did so in response to fewer prompts than children in the SP interviews. The number of turns in the transitional phase (during which the interviewer transitioned from rapport-building to exploring the possibility of abuse) was associated with increased directness and more specific utterance types. The younger children displayed reluctance more than older children. The RP interviews were characterized by more emotionally supportive statements throughout. These findings highlight various aspects of child forensic interviews that should be considered when seeking to understand children’s willingness to engage with interviewers.
Chapter
Sexually abused children provide the chief source of information about their victimization. Yet child victims are often reluctant to disclose their abuse. Investigative interviewing strategies strive for forensic balance, that is, to avoid both false negatives (failing to identify true victims of sexual abuse) and false positives (wrongly identifying children as victims who are not). Considerable progress has been made in developing forensically sound and evidence-based investigative interview structures, protocols, and guidelines in the past 35 years, resulting in a number of common principles for investigative interviewing. Most structures, protocols, and guidelines fall into the categories of scripted and semi-structured. In this chapter, the importance of Children’s Advocacy Centers in the development of investigative interviews is described. Interview structures are covered. A continuum of questions from open-ended to close-ended is presented. Controversies about the use of media in investigative interviews are discussed.
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This chapter sets out the context of child sexual abuse and marks out several points of departure from which the rest of the book proceeds. It first defines the concept of child sexual abuse. Then, it reviews the best literature on the prevalence of child sexual abuse both generally, and in specific contexts, around the world. It reviews other important epidemiological features, referring to evidence about gender, age of onset, the relationship between those who inflict abuse and the child, frequency of offending, factors influencing offending, and theories of offending. It notes the common health and behavioural consequences of child sexual abuse. Significantly, it then reviews literature on the common non-disclosure of child sexual abuse by both girls and boys: a critical feature of this context. The chapter than shows that the gravity of child sexual abuse should be and is recognised in international policy and in most social norms. An appropriately nuanced approach is then urged, in recognition of a spectrum of cases that demand appropriately differentiated responses. Finally, the chapter explains that the book also proceeds on the basis that in any civilised society, individuals, institutions and broader social systems and nation states have a deep ethically-based duty to prevent and identify child sexual abuse, and to respond appropriately to it after it occurs. These ethical duties are consistent with bodies of political and public health theory, the Capabilities Approach, and human dignity informing the book’s entire conceptual approach.
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The Standard NICHD Protocol (SP) models the use of cognitively focused techniques for forensic interviewing whereas the Revised Protocol (RP) also emphasizes intensive rapport building and the provision of emotional support. Interviewers trained to use the RP build rapport better and are more supportive than those using the SP, thereby enhancing children’s cooperation and performance. This study was designed to determine whether 1) children were more likely to make allegations of abuse and 2) their statements would be deemed more credible when they were interviewed using the RP rather than the SP. We used administrative data from the years immediately before and after the Israeli government mandated use of the RP, rather than the SP, in official investigative interviews nationwide. A GLMM model was used to test the rates of allegations as well as ratings of interviewee credibility as a function of Protocol version, while controlling for the nesting of children within interviewers as well as various child and abuse characteristics. Protocol version significantly predicted allegation rates and perceived ‘credibility’ once the effects of other factors (child age, gender, relationship, type of abuse) were taken into account. Using the RP significantly increased the odds that children would make allegations by 14.3% and the odds that interviewers would deem allegations ‘credible’ by 10.2%. Supportive interviewing based on better rapport between children and interviewers appeared to enhance children’s willingness to make credible allegations. Implications for improving practice and policy are discussed.
Article
We developed the first Fear of False Accusations scale, measuring the public’s fear of personally being the target of untrue child sexual abuse allegations despite no actual wrongdoing as well as the fear of false allegations being a common problem in society. The scale was statistically reliable within a diverse sample of 964 participants. Several months later, in an ostensibly unrelated mock trial experiment, a subset of the participants assumed the role of mock juror and considered a criminal case involving an accusation of child sexual abuse. As predicted, (a) mock jurors with higher levels of fear were less likely than others to believe a specific child sexual abuse allegation (but did not differ in ratings of victim credibility nor responsibility), (b) men had significantly higher levels of this fear than did women, and (c) mediational analyses revealed that gender differences in fear partially explained men’s tendency to believe the child abuse allegation less than women did. This research is important for developing the first empirically validated measure of fear of false accusation and linking this fear to perceptions of specific child sexual abuse allegations, and for finding a partial explanation for gender differences in mock jurors’ reactions to child sexual abuse allegations.
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Because intensely reluctant children often fail to report being abused even when they are supportively interviewed, the Revised NICHD (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) Protocol (RP) guides interviewers to delay discussion of sensitive topics and build rapport before scheduling a follow-up interview in which children might feel more comfortable. We sought to determine whether adherence to these recommendations was associated with the children’s propensity to make allegations. Repeated forensic interviews were conducted with 202 Israeli children aged 3-14 who did not make allegations in the first interview, but of whom 104 made allegations during the second interview. The interviews were coded to identify interviewers’ provision of support and types of substantive questions (invitations vs. closed-ended), as well as children’s signs of reluctance, responsiveness, and informativeness. Interviewer behavior was represented with a latent variable reflecting the interviewers’ expression of support, use of invitations, and the avoidance of closed-ended questions. Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) showed that adherence to the suggested interviewing model was positively associated with children being more likely to allege abuse (total effect: β = .29). This association was mediated by children’s enhanced cooperativeness in the second interview (indirect effect: β = .16). These findings suggest that repeated interviews can be useful despite the additional financial costs.
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Children from Arab society in Israel have been overlooked in previous studies and efforts in the area of forensic interviews. The current study provides an in-depth thematic analysis of 30 forensic interviews with Israeli Muslim Arab children following child sexual abuse (CSA), all conducted by Arab forensic interviewers. In multicultural Israeli society, Muslim Arabs make up 18% of the population. In addition to the religious and cultural difference, this minority is involved in an ongoing conflict with the majority Jewish society in Israel and tends to have low trust of government authorities. This background necessarily affects the area of forensic interviews with children. The research explores the unique encounter between maltreated children from Israeli Muslim Arab society and forensic interviewers, highlighting its particular characteristics and challenges. Data analysis revealed a central theme of a clash of worlds. The forensic interviewers, although hailing from a similar background as the children, followed best practices developed in western societies. The children, on the other hand, faced enormous conflict in addressing CSA terminology and complying with the requirements of the forensic world in ways that are forbidden to the them in their own. Moreover, having been educated to accept the authority of adults unquestioningly, the children were torn between the difficulty of disclosing the abuse to someone outside the family, and the obligation to communicate candidly with the adult interviewer as required in the forensic context. The findings highlight the urgent need to reform the services these children receive and to dedicate future efforts to further assessment of cultural context and its impact on maltreated children, particularly in the forensic context.
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In this study, we examined investigative interviews to identify relationships between interviewer–interviewee rapport quality, interviewers’ question format, and interviewees’ free recall responses. Specifically, we studied investigative interviews conducted with children and people with disabilities – vulnerable populations who tend to be reluctant to cooperate during investigative interviews. Studies suggest improving rapport quality to improve interview outcomes, but the research remains largely theoretical and experimental. Using actual field data from transcripts of 137 investigative interviews in South Korea, we evaluated rapport quality for each interview and subsequently measured the number of open-ended questions and free recall responses. Our analysis revealed a significant relationship between the rapport quality formed in the early stages of the investigative interview, frequency of open-ended questions, and frequency of free recall responses. In legal contexts, a victim’s testimony is considered more credible when free recall responses are provided as much as possible. Therefore, this study has strong implications for efforts targeted at increasing the effectiveness of investigative interviews.
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This study examined the quality of forensic interviews conducted by specially trained police officers in the Norwegian Barnahus between 2015 and 2017, using the sequential interview (SI) model, a Norwegian version of the extended interview model that has not previously been studied. Two hundred and seven interviews of alleged abused preschool children (3–7 years old) were selected from around the country. Developmental trends in interview dynamics and the pattern of disclosure were analyzed. Analyses showed that the interviews were long but involved few open‐ended and many suggestive questions, especially in interviews with the youngest children who did not disclose. Because similar findings were obtained in previous studies of Norwegian interviews not using this model, the findings suggest that the SI interview model does little to improve the formal quality of forensic interviews with very young children, and show the need to develop new forms of interviewer training which are more intensive than those currently employed.
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This article contextualizes new knowledge about forensically interviewing and assessing children when there are concerns about child abuse. The article references the impact of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act and the circumstance in the 1980s where investigators and clinicians had little guidance about how to interview children about alleged sexual abuse. It further speaks to the consequences of lack of interview guidelines and how videotaped interviews in the McMartin Pre-school cases served as the catalyst for the backlash against child interviewers and their interview techniques. Painful as the backlash was, it led to research and evidence-based practice in interviewing children about child sexual and other abuse. Principal among the practice innovations were forensic interview structures to be used when there is alleged child sexual and other abuse and the strong preference for one interview by a skilled interviewer, who is nevertheless a stranger to the child. Although these innovations satisfied many professionals in the child maltreatment field and critics of child interviewers, the new practices did not address a number of abiding issues: 1) how to meet the needs of children who are unable to disclose maltreatment in a single interview, 2) how to determine which children are suggestible in a forensic interview, and 3) how decisions are made about the likelihood of abuse, based upon the child’s information during the interview. The articles in this special section address these cutting-edge issues.
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Background: The literature is inconsistent as to the relationship between age at time of abuse and time to disclosure of child sexual abuse (CSA) and the factors that influence early disclosure. Objective: This study sought to investigate the relationship between age of child at time of disclosure, taking account of age at time of abuse, delay in disclosure, and the relationship, if any, between factors influencing disclosure (feeling distressed, being believed, fear, contact with alleged perpetrator, difficulty saying it, and being asked) and age at time of disclosure. Participants and setting: The files of children (n=273) seen for evaluation in a child sexual abuse (CSA) centre were reviewed. Method: Demographic information and data relating to the child's experience of informal disclosure were extracted from children's evaluation reports, based on interviews with children and their parents, where professionals deemed that a credible account of CSA has been given. Results: A significant relationship was found between age at time of abuse and age at time of disclosure (χ2 (16) = 261.434, p < 0.05), whereby children were more likely to tell within the developmental period during which they were abused than within any other period; this pattern increased across each age category. Overall, no specific psychological factors were found to be predictive of early disclosure. Conclusions: The findings suggest that children of all ages need to be targeted for prevention efforts and a larger study is needed to investigate whether some psychological factors are more predictive of disclosure than others.
Chapter
This chapter first focuses on major challenges confronting child and youth-serving organisations and high-risk settings. It then discusses the nature, key findings and major recommendations of Australia’s Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, a landmark public inquiry into institutional sexual abuse, including a special focus on the Roman Catholic Church. The chapter then focuses on several recent examples of progress in responses to major problems presented by child sexual abuse in institutional and non-institutional settings. Developments from Australia in particular, but also from other countries, will show how new public health law responses, including through civil law, and with various emphases on primary prevention and secondary prevention, can create frameworks for enhanced prevention, identification, and response to cases of child sexual abuse. Some of these responses, such as redress schemes, reportable conduct schemes and child safe standards legislation, have specific application to institutional settings. Other responses, such as the abolition of statutes of limitation for civil claims for injuries caused by sexual abuse, and other kinds of legislative reporting duties, have broader application across society, as they apply to sexual abuse in all settings, whether within institutions, families, private settings, or other community settings. These responses are of broad application regarding prevention of child sexual abuse, early identification of child sexual offending, and ensuring appropriate responses once it is known or suspected. They are particularly relevant when dealing with high risk institutional settings and prolific individual offenders, both of which present especially urgent examples of the need for an appropriate societal approach to child sexual abuse informed by public health and social justice.
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Although abuse prevention programs have proliferated, little research has explored the direct effects of such programs on actual child sexual abuse disclosure rates, and no research has explored the effects of such programs on child sexual abuse substantiation. Employing a quasi-experimental design, the present research reflects an exploration of the effects of exposure to the Think First and Stay Safe™ abuse prevention program on abuse disclosure rates of 319 children who underwent a child forensic interview within 2015–2018 in a Midwestern child advocacy center. Supporting our mediational hypotheses, children exposed (vs. not exposed) to the Think First and Stay Safe™ program were significantly more likely to disclose abuse during the forensic interview, which in turn predicted significantly increased abuse substantiation likelihood.
Article
This study of attrition compares the prosecution of child sexual offenses reported while the complainant was still a child with those in which the report was delayed into adulthood; it also compares matters involving adult and young (under 18 years) suspects/defendants. It is based on an analysis of police and court administrative data in New South Wales, Australia over a 14-year period (2003-2016). Only one in five (21.6%) proceeded beyond the investigation stage. Criminal proceedings were more likely to commence when the alleged victim was 7-12 years old at the time of the incident, when the suspect was an adult and at least 10 years older than the victim, and also when the report to police was made when the victim was an adult. Just over half (55.5%) of the matters finalized in court resulted in a conviction. Cases in the higher courts were less likely to be dismissed and more likely to feature guilty pleas and convictions at trial than cases in the lower courts. The overall estimate is that only 12% of offenses reported to police resulted in a conviction, at a relatively stable rate over 14 years. These findings are consistent with those of comparable studies.
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Background: Child sexual abuse is undisclosed for many reasons that are resistant to change. Citizens can play an important role in disclosing cases of child sexual abuse to authorities. Professionals who deal with children also play a crucial role. Office-holders in organisations have a clear responsibility to prevent cover-ups of sexual abuse. Recently, some countries have created important new legal duties for adults to disclose child sexual abuse. Objectives: This article creates a contemporary taxonomy of duties to disclose cases of child sexual abuse, and explains their nature and justification. Participants and setting: Citizens, professionals dealing with children in the course of their work, and managers of child and youth-serving organisations. Methods: Legal analysis created a taxonomy of reporting duties. Analysis of these duties from perspectives of criminal jurisprudence, public health law, children's rights and ethics considered their justification. Results: Seven legal duties now exist, in criminal law, civil law and child protection law. Some apply to all citizens; others to managers in organisations; others to professionals dealing with children in the course of their work. All the duties are directed to early detection of cases; some are directed towards prevention; and some are focused on avoidance of institutional corruption. Conclusions: These developments represent historic progress in overcoming normally intractable barriers to disclosure of cases of child sexual abuse. New legal duties are consistent with principles from criminal jurisprudence, public health law, children's rights and ethics. Where adopted, societies should ensure the creation and maintenance of ecological conditions in which these duties can be observed.
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Child sexual abuse, and particularly the abuse of boys, is now the focus of significant research and attention — especially in light of various inquiries, as many victim-survivors come forward years after their abuse to testify to their abuse by clergy and other institutions. This article examines what the research to date has revealed about gender differences in the dynamics of child sexual abuse and the sequelae for male and female victims. These findings are important in understanding: how males and females experience, respond to and recover from such abuse; and how to protect, prevent, and adequately support both male and female victims of child sexual abuse and their families.
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Twenty‐seven 6‐ to 15‐year‐old children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and 32 typically developing (TD) children were questioned about their participation in a set of activities after a two‐week delay and again after a two‐month delay using a best‐practice interview protocol. Interviews were coded for completeness with respect to the gist of the event, the number of narrative details provided, and accuracy. Results indicated that children with ASD did not differ from TD peers on any dimensions of memory after both delays. Specifically, both groups of children provided equivalently complete accounts on both occasions. However, children in both groups provided significantly fewer narrative details about the event in the second interview, and the accuracy rates were lower. The findings indicate that, like typically developing children, children with ASD can provide meaningful and reliable testimony about an event they personally experienced, but several aspects of their memory reports deteriorate over time.
Article
This article provides an overview of The Witch-Hunt Narrative, focusing on the challenges of gathering information from young children, such as those involved in sexual abuse allegations in day care. The article summarizes the research methodology of The Witch-Hunt Narrative, which involves a series of case studies. The article articulates Cheit’s hypothesis, which is that the witch-hunt narrative originated in two key publications, a series of articles by two journalists, Tom Charlier and Shirley Dowling, and the book, Satan’s Silence: Ritual Abuse and the Making of a Modern-Day Witch-Hunt, by Debbie Nathan and Michael Snedeker, and notes his disputes with the evidence from these two publications. Cheit deals in depth with three hotly contested day care center cases: the McMartin Pre-School case in Manhattan Beach, California, the Wee Care Day Nursery case in Maplewood, New Jersey, and the Country Walk Babysitting Service case in Dade County, Florida. The article summarizes Cheit’s research and conclusions related to these three cases and also notes how forensic interview practices used in these cases would not be supported today. The article concludes with noting that despite the impressive progress in forensic interviewing of children when sexual abuse is alleged, methods for gathering information from young children remain inadequate. Moreover, there are no easy answers to the reasons for the rise and fall of allegations of sexual abuse in day care and of allegations of ritual abuse.
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One hundred alleged victims of child sexual abuse (ages 4-12 years; M = 8.1 years) were interviewed by police investigators about their alleged experiences. Half of the children were interviewed using the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development's structured interview protocol, whereas the other children - matched with respect to their age, relationship with the alleged perpetrator, and seriousness of the alleged offenses - were interviewed using standard interview practices. Protocol-guided interviews elicited more information using open-ended prompts and less information using option-posing and suggestive questions than did standard interviews; there were no age differences in the amount of information provided in response to open-ended invitations. In 89% of the protocol interviews, children made their preliminary allegations in response to open-ended prompts, compared with 36% in the standard interviews.
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This study examined whether sexually abused preschool boys and girls (ages 2–5) differed in terms of abuse characteristics or psychological outcomes. A retrospective chart review of 74 cases of sexually abused children (29 boys and 45 girls) treated at an urban mental health clinic in Maryland was conducted. Information was collected on: (1) demographics; (2) abuse characteristics (victim's age, type of sexual abuse, relationship to perpetrator); (3) abuse discovery pattern (accidental vs. purposeful); (4) children's symptomatology; and (5) child and familial factors. No differences were found between boys and girls in terms of the victim's age at the time of abuse, perpetrator's age, or the identity of the perpetrator. However, boys and girls experienced different forms of abuse; boys were more likely to experience fondling, oral and anal intercourse. The majority of boys and girls were abused by males, typically someone they knew (biological parent/parent figure or relative). No differences were evident in the type of disclosure; however, older children were more likely to self-disclose than younger children. Results indicated that boys exhibited more developmental delays and aggressive symptoms than girls. Clinical implications of these findings are discussed as well as recommendations for future research.
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Although anatomic dolls have been in use for almost two decades, a number of clinicians and legal professionals dispute the reliability of information obtained through their use. This study examines (a) the interrater reliability of information obtained during child sexual abuse assessments that used a clinical assessment interview protocol featuring anatomic dolls and (b) the patterns of disclosure and doll demonstration across the subject's age, gender, and case outcome. Issues of interrater reliability focused on the comparison of questionnaire responses of interviewers with those of unobtrusive observers. Particular items examined for reliability included children's specific disclosure statements, doll demonstrations associated with specific disclosure statements, and those affective/expressive behaviors of children that may be salient considerations in a clinical assessment. Interrater reliability was highest for questions addressing children's statements and lowest for those addressing affective/expressive behaviors. Results suggest specific areas of observation and interpretations that tend to be typically ambiguous as well as those that may be more dependent on the experience and skill of the interviewer.
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This research investigates the relationship between disclosure and adult outcome. In the study, 60 volunteers completed a phone interview regarding their history of sexual abuse, history of repeated disclosures, and current socioemotional functioning. Number of disclosures and number of positive disclosures were not related to adult functioning as measured by the Brief Symptom Inventory. Reactions to adulthood disclosure were perceived as significantly more helpful than reactions to childhood disclosures. Across all explored disclosures, the more direct the disclosure, the more negative the reaction. It is unclear, based on the lack of findings in this study, whether revealing sexual abuse has a healing effect.
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The relationship among the eliciting stimulus for disclosure of sexual abuse, the age and gender of the child and the type of sexual abuse reported by the child was investigated. The sample included 96 children, between 3 and 17 years of age. All of the subjects were in foster care placement at the time of assessment and were referred due to suspicion of sexual abuse or a previous disclosure by the subject or another person. The results indicated that close to two-thirds of the subjects disclosed at least one type of sexual abuse, with almost 40% of those who hadn't previously disclosed disclosing for the first time. Fondling, physical abuse, genital penetration, and touching the offender were found to be the most frequently disclosed types of sexual abuse. “Personal history,” “interview/worst experience,” were the most effective stimuli in eliciting disclosure. A number of significant differential effects due to age, gender and diagnosed disorder of the subject were found on the eliciting stimuli and/or types of sexual abuse disclosed. Implications of the findings for the practice of child sexual abuse assessment are discussed.
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Seven psychotherapists who had experience working with Puerto Ricans on issues of child sexual abuse and 5 Puerto Rican women who were abused sexually as children were interviewed in this exploratory study about disclosure. Other therapists and clients were consulted informally. Certain cultural norms and factors related to Puerto Ricans' status as an oppressed minority in the US are identified as making the disclosure of sexual abuse especially difficult for Puerto Rican children. Systematic factors hindering disclosure include discrimination, migration, poverty, and lack of bilingual services. Cultural factors inhibiting disclosure include childrearing practices, the value placed on virginity, and taboos against discussing sex. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Describes the development of their cutting-edge structured-interview protocol, designed to increase the among of correct narrative information children provide in forensic contexts and reduce children's errors. The authors present recent data from their laboratory demonstrating the use of the protocol in actual forensic interviews with child abuse victims. They note that although there is widespread consensus about how children should be interviewed, a review of the interviews conducted in several countries suggests that interviewers have difficulty adhering to the recommended guidelines. Although many interviewers appear to understand proper interviewing techniques, they have difficulty translating these concepts into practice. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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In this chapter we attempt some 1st steps toward developing a line of analysis that may open a meaningful dialogue between researchers and practitioners regarding the issues of both fabricated and recovered memories of sexual abuse. We 1st review the substantial scientific evidence suggesting the powerful role that memory suggestions have in planting fictitious memories of sexual abuse. We then turn to the existing evidence for recovered memories of abuse. Our conclusion from this section is that although the documented evidence for the factual basis of such memories may be scant, this absence of support may be more a reflection of the quality and extent of prior investigations rather than of the existence of the phenomenon itself. In support of this view, we introduce 4 cases of recovered memories of sexual abuse for which we personally were able to find corroborating evidence. Ss for the 4 cases were a 39-yr-old male, a 40-yr-old female, a 51-yr-old female, and a 41-yr-old female. We consider these cases in light of the various mechanisms that might contribute to the production of recovered memory experiences. This analysis suggests that recovered memories may involve a disparate set of mechanisms, some of which require new twists to old findings, and some of which may require the discovery of processes potentially more unique to this situation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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This study examines the results of forensic evaluations of 399 children between the ages of 8 and 15 who were seen at an urban evaluation center regarding allegations of sexual abuse. Data collected included demographic, family environment, and abuse variables, outcome of a multidisciplinary forensic evaluation, and psychological distress as measured by the Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children (TSCC Briere, in press). Children were grouped according to the outcome of the evaluation: nonabused, abused-disclosing, and abused-nondisclosing (composed of children for whom there was external evidence of abuse but who denied being abused). A number of variables predicted group membership, including subject race, sex, cognitive delays, mother's belief or disbelief in the allegation, and psychological distress. Sexually abused children who disclosed abuse reported particularly high levels of distress, abused but nondisclosing children reported the lowest levels, and nonabused children reported intermediate symptom levels. The data are discussed in terms of the role of denial, maternal support, and symptomatology in forensic evaluations.
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A stratified random sample survey of clinical members of the American Psychological Association was conducted to determine the number and nature of cases involving alleged ritualistic and religion-related child abuse, whether reported directly by children or retrospectively by adults. Results indicated that only a minority of clinical psychologists have encountered ritual cases, but of those, the vast majority believe their clients' claims. Even so, the purported evidence for the allegations, especially in cases reported by adults claining to have suffered the abuse during childhood, is questionable. Most clients who allege ritual abuse are diagnosed as having multiple personality disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder, two increasingly popular, but controversial, psychological diagnoses.Clinical and legal implications are discussed and a future research agenda is urged.
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We review the research on the credibility and reliability of young children’s reports. We then provide details of a study that was designed to address some unresolved issues in the field. In this study, various suggestive techniques were used in repeated interviews with preschool children to elicit narratives about true and fictional events. Analyses of children’s narratives revealed that fictional narratives contained more spontaneous details, more elaborations, and more aggressive details than true narratives. Across retellings, false narratives were less consistent but contained more reminiscences than true events. These results are discussed in terms of the structural features of true and false narratives, the effects of repeated interviews on children’s accuracy, and the credibility of children’s reports.
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Considerable research on childhood sexual abuse exists; however, few studies have examined the role of race, ethnicity, and culture in such abuse. Past investigations have focused almost exclusively on several ethnic groups and races, namely whites, blacks, and Hispanics, without much delineation of cultural subgroup differences. Additionally, much of the existing research is conflicting and lacks consistency in the use of ethnic and racial terms and identification of cultural variations among the major groups. This paper will summarize and analyze the literature on childhood sexual abuse in relation to racial, ethnic, cultural, and other factors relevant to African American, Hispanic, and Asian populations. A critique of the current weaknesses in the literature, including contradictions and recommendations for future research are also presented.
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Seventy-six children (5 to 10 years old), who were referred because of concerns about sexual abuse, were interviewed as part of a larger study testing the efficacy of a computerassisted interview in sexual abuse evaluations. Data from initial interviews were coded according to the presence of disclosure and the details revealed about sexual abuse. The presence and amount of corroboration were coded through case review. Although 56 children were coded as having disclosed prior to evaluation, only 44 subjects disclosed during the initial interview. Only 1 child disclosed spontaneously. An additional 8 children (11%) disclosed possible sexual abuse in a second or later interview. Although girls disclosed at a higher rate than boys, children did not differ in the amount or types of information they provided about alleged sexual abuse. Findings are discussed in terms of the conceptualization of disclosure as a process. Implications for interviewing strategies are addressed. Peer Reviewed http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/66798/2/10.1177_1077559599004003003.pdf
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This paper reports on the first national survey of adults concerning a history of childhood sexual abuse. Victimization was reported by 27% of the women and 16% of the men. Higher rates of abuse were found among men who grew up in unhappy families, lived for some period with only their mothers, who were currently residing in the West and who came from English or Scandinavian heritage. Higher rates of abuse were found among women who grew up in unhappy families, lived for some period without one of their natural parents, received inadequate sex education, were currently residing in the West or who were born after 1925.
Article
This article applies the American Psychological Association's (1992) Ethics Code to the activities of psychologists engaged in child sexual abuse validations. Standards of professional and forensic competence are discussed with respect to quality and level of education, unsupervised experience, and workshop attendance. Personal biases, self-interests, and multiple relationships that can give rise to misleading testimony and exploitation of child witnesses are addressed, along with ethical problems arising when psychologists confuse abuse validation with child advocacy. Failure to document and select scientifically and professionally sound assessment techniques is discussed, and potential ethical problems inherent in the use of "syndrome" evidence (S. M. Sgroi, 1982; R. C. Summit, 1983), posttraumatic stress disorder, and D. Finkelhor's (1988) offender typology are highlighted. A more realistic description of psychologists' competencies and responsibilities in legal proceedings is recommended.
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Simona Ghetti and Gail S. Goodman look at how children can reject misinformation and avoid false-memory formation.
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In this Article, Professors Ceci and Friedman analyze psychological studies on children's suggestibility and find a broad consensus that young children are suggestible to a significant degree. Studies confirm that interviewers commonly we suggestive interviewing techniques that exacerbate this suggestibility, creating a significant risk in some forensic contexts-notably but not exclusively those of suspected child abuse-that children will make false assertions of fact. Professors Ceci and Friedman address the implications of this difficulty for the legal system and respond to Professor Lyon's criticism of this view recently articulated tn the Cornell Law Review. Using Bayesian probability theory, Professors Ceci and Friedman assess the implications of children's suggestibility for fact-finding in adjudication. Based on the constitutionally compelled principle that an inaccurate criminal conviction is a far morse result than a failure to gain an accurate conviction, even a slight risk of false allegations is significant Professors Ceci and Friedman present several policy implications that follow from their analysis. First, interviewers should use leading questions only as a last resort, and they should completely avoid some strongly suggestive techniques that create particularly significant risks of false allegation. Second, except in very limited circumstances the fact that a child has been subjected to suggestive questioning should not preclude her from testifying. Instead in appropriate cases, courts should be receptive to expert evidence on the suggestibility of children. Furthermore, in some extreme cases in which the child's allegation is essential to the prosecution and the child was subjected to very strongly suggestive influences, a criminal conviction should be precluded. To the extent that reliability is a factor in determining the admissibility of hearsay statements, in some circumstances children's statements should be considered unreliable. Finally, absent exigent circumstances, all interviews conducted as part of a criminal abuse investigation should be videotaped, to reduce the uncertainty as to whether interviewers have used suggestive questioning techniques.
Article
Laboratory and autobiographical studies of normal adults' memory for the time of past events are reviewed, and the main phenomena that have been discovered are described. A distinction is introduced among several kinds of information on which this knowledge could be based: information about distances, locations, and relative times of occurrence. The main theories of memory for time are classified in these terms, and each theory is evaluated in light of the available evidence. In spite of the common intuition that chronology is a basic property of autobiographical memory, the research reviewed demonstrates that there is no single, natural temporal code in human memory Instead, a chronological past depends on a process of active, repeated construction.
Article
This study attempts to discover if further traumatization occurs to sexually abused children through societal system interventions. The Traumagenic Model, developed by David Finkelhor, which explains the dynamics of trauma in child sexual abuse, was employed as the theoretical framework to understand how societal system interventions can produce or reinforce the previous trauma from sexual abuse. Ninety sexually abused children ages 9 to 19 were selected from three counties that have contrasting societal system interventions. The results of the study indicated that the number of interviews children experienced and a trusting relationship with a professional were statistically significant predictors of trauma scores. Other major system interventions, testifying and removal of the child from the home, were not statistically correlated to trauma scores. The majority of the children found the system a positive support in assisting them with the stress of the intervention and personal loss.
Article
Verbal disclosure of abuse in a specialized interview was studied in a sample of 28 children, ages 3 to menarche, who presented with purely physical complaints later diagnosed as a sexually transmitted disease, in the absence of any known prior disclosure or suspicion of sexual abuse. Only 43% gave any verbal confirmation of sexual contact. Fifty-seven percent were “false negatives.” Disclosure was strongly associated with the attitude taken by the child's caretaker toward the possibility of abuse. Children whose caretakers accepted the possibility that their child might have been sexually abused disclosed at a rate almost 3.5 times as great as those whose caretakers denied any possibility of abuse (63% vs. 17%). The results suggest that caretaker attitude and support is a critical variable in the child's disclosure process and a valuable target for intervention and prevention efforts. In addition, it was found that, aside from their STD, many of these abused children presented as free from any specifically suspicious abuse symptoms, suggesting that reliance on single interviews and identification of “red flags” cannot be expected to identify many hidden victims.
Article
A questionnaire survey of 755 adults sexually abused as children, asking about the circumstances of their disclosure to the first person they told, resulted in 286 responses of which 228 were from female victims of incest. Individuals were asked basic demographic information, details about their abuse, who they first told, the reaction of the first person told, and reasons why they delayed telling or finally did tell. The women in this sample told in three groups. Those telling their parents first were likely to tell in childhood. A second group telling friends, other family members, or partners were more likely to tell in early adulthood. A third group, those telling therapists, revealed the abuse at a later age. Those revealing the incest to parents in childhood received a worse reaction than did those waiting until adulthood. When women disclosed to parents prior to age 18, the incest continued for more than a year after the disclosure in 51.9% of the cases. The women in this sample who disclosed as children were likely to be met with disbelief or blame rather than with support, validation, and protection.
Article
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of childhood disclosure on current mental health functioning of female survivors of child sexual abuse and to identify characteristics of abuse that were associated with disclosure. Two hundred and four women with a history of child sexual abuse completed questionnaires describing sexual victimization history, circumstances of childhood disclosures, and measures of current symptoms. Disclosure was not directly related to overall current functioning; however, disclosure was associated with fewer intrusive and avoidant symptoms. Disclosure tended to be less common with more severe levels of assault and when the assailant was related to the victim. The results suggest that disclosure may be beneficial in preventing the development of specific post-traumatic symptoms; however, disclosure was found to be least common for the types of assaults that produced the greatest psychological distress.
Article
• Interviewing children for investigative purposes is a specialized skill. Professional interviewers need to be able to conduct interviews that bear scrutiny from outside agencies and also serve the best interests of children. This book corrects the common misunderstandings about adult–child conversational exchanges and provides guidelines for interviewers. It also presents a flexible interview protocol that can be tailored to meet individual needs. Topics discussed include the current child protection crisis; the difficulties of investigating alleged abuse cases; characteristics of the most respected interview protocols; children's language development and understanding of "interview rules"; ancillary techniques such as the use of drawings and anatomically detailed dolls; and how to stay abreast of the latest research and techniques. The book is intended not only for child protection workers, lawyers, law enforcement officers, and psychologists, but also for other mental health professionals, educators, and parents. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Ritualistic child sexual abuse is a relatively unknown and poorly understood form of child maltreatment. This study describes the common characteristics evident in five cases of ritualistic abuse that occurred in five separate neighborhood settings. The sample consisted of 39 children, from 4 to 17 years of age, who described in clinical interviews at least six elements of ritual abuse. Three distinct components to the abuse were identified: incest, neighborhood juvenile perpetration, and organized adult ritual sex rings. These components operated simultaneously and interacted with one another. Lack of understanding of these separate components led to oversimplification of the problem, inaccurate investigative work, and attempts to discredit victims and therapists. Disclosures were difficult and progressed slowly. The majority of children showed little symptomology at initial referral with significant increases during the disclosure process. Perpetrators involved religious leaders, women, and many juveniles that were considered conscientious, responsible members of their community. This study suggests that ritual abuse in neighborhood settings appears secretive, coercive, and complex.
Article
Child victims of sexual abuse face secondary trauma in the crisis of discovery. Their attempts to reconcile their private experiences with the realities of the outer world are assaulted by the disbelief, blame and rejection they experience from adults. The normal coping behavior of the child contradicts the entrenched beliefs and expectations typically held by adults, stigmatizing the child with charges of lying, manipulating or imagining from parents, courts and clinicians. Such abandonment by the very adults most crucial to the child's protection and recovery drives the child deeper into self-blame, self-hate, alienation and revictimization. In contrast, the advocacy of an empathic clinician within a supportive treatment network can provide vital credibility and endorsement for the child.
Article
The extent and nature of a child's disclosure of sexual abuse is an important component of the medical diagnosis. This study examined the frequency of disclosure of abuse by (he alleged victim, as well as the child, examiner, and case characteristics that might influence disclosure. One goal was to understand how our medical examination protocol might impede or encourage the child to disclose victimization. All records for 179 children who received an examination for sexual abuse during the period from July 1, 1991 through June 30, 1992 were reviewed. Data were abstracted about demographics, interviewer identity, the alleged acts, the alleged perpetrator, and family characteristics. The overall disclosure rate was 47%. Factors associated with child disclosure were child age, siblings in the home, perpetrator other than a biological parent, alleged oral-genital contact or penetration, previous disclosure, and interview conducted by the physician. The factors significant in regression analysis were: prior disclosure, age greater than four years, and interview by the physician rather than by a social worker or psychologist. The findings related to disclosure to the physician may be confounded by child age. Nevertheless, the findings suggest the need to consider the advantages the physician might bring to the conduct of the sexual abuse interview.
Article
This study followed-up children who initially had presented to a hospital emergency room with purely physical complaints later determined to be a sexually transmitted disease considered to be compelling evidence of sexual abuse. Cases were selected where there was no prior history, suspicion, or disclosure of abuse, and the child failed to disclose any sexual contact in the initial sexual abuse disclosure interview. These interview “false negatives” previously had been found to be related to caretaker biases against considering the possibility that abuse may have occurred. However, it was not clear what role, if any, individual psychological processes may have played in the false negative interviews. The present study re-located and assessed a small number of these children for dissociative and behavioral symptoms. Two non-contemporaneous comparison groups were used: “true-positive” (i.e., disclosing) sexually abused children from the same hospital emergency room and non-abused, non-psychiatric controls from the same hospital. False negative children were found to have significantly higher levels of dissociative symptoms, although they did not differ from true positives and non-abused controls on general behavioral problems. The results would be consistent with an association between false negatives in sexual abuse interviews and dissociation. Because the study was correlational, and dissociation was measured long after the false negative interview, caution is advised in inferring that dissociation may cause false negative interviews.
Article
The empirical basis for the child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome (CSAAS), a theoretical model that posits that sexually abused children frequently display secrecy, tentative disclosures, and retractions of abuse statements was reviewed. Two data sources were evaluated: retrospective studies of adults' reports of having been abused as children and concurrent or chart-review studies of children undergoing evaluation or treatment for sexual abuse. The evidence indicates that the majority of abused children do not reveal abuse during childhood. However, the evidence fails to support the notion that denials, tentative disclosures, and recantations characterize the disclosure patterns of children with validated histories of sexual abuse. These results are discussed in terms of their implications governing the admissibility of expert testimony on CSAAS. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
This article applies the American Psychological Association's (1992) Ethics Code to the activities of psychologists engaged in child sexual abuse validations. Standards of professional and forensic competence are discussed with respect to quality and level of education, unsupervised experience, and workshop attendance. Personal biases, self-interests, and multiple relationships that can give rise to misleading testimony and exploitation of child witnesses are addressed, along with ethical problems arising when psychologists confuse abuse validation with child advocacy. Failure to document and select scientifically and professionally sound assessment techniques is discussed, and potential ethical problems inherent in the use of "syndrome" evidence (S. M. Sgroi, 1982; R. C. Summit, 1983), posttraumatic stress disorder, and D. Finkelhor's (1988) offender typology are highlighted. A more realistic description of psychologists' competencies and responsibilities in legal proceedings is recommended. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Using case studies ranging from the Salem Witch Hunt to the Little Rascals Day Care case to illustrate their argument, "Jeopardy in the Courtroom" draws from the vast corpus of scientific research to clarify what is most relevant for evaluating and understanding children's statements made in the legal arena. Bringing good sense to a topic that is as timely as it is controversial, Ceci and Bruck provide prevalence and incidence statistics on child abuse, provide theoretical overviews of memory and suggestibility, trace the history of research on suggestibility from the turn of the century to the present, explore the dynamics of structured and therapeutic interviews with children, examine the topic of recovery of repressed memories of early childhood abuse, evaluate the research regarding age differences in the reliability of children's reports, and propose general guidelines for interviewing children in a sensitive and professional manner. Written in lively, accessible language by acknowledged experts in the field, this book will be an invaluable guide for expert witnesses and all those who work with child witnesses, including therapists, social workers, law enforcement personnel, and lawyers. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Examines self-disclosure from the vantage point of various Western conceptions of psychological health and well-being, with particular attention given to the assumptions on which they are based and their implications for psychotherapy practice. Both culture-specific and pancultural aspects of psychotherapy are discussed in light of some key concepts central to the psychodynamic, humanistic-existential, and cognitive-behavioral approaches. The role of culture in psychotherapy practice is discussed and an experiential framework is advanced for psychotherapy training from a cross-cultural perspective. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Chapter
This chapter summarizes major topics of developmental research in the broadly defined area of “children and the law”. We focus on a variety of issues that arise when children enter the forensic arena and that have been addressed by social scientists. These topics include accuracy, suggestibility, and credibility of children's testimony as well as the empirical basis of implementing specific procedures when interviewing children. Because of social and legal concerns, much of the review focuses on younger children and on issues related to sexual abuse. Keywords: child law; child report; children as witnesses; evidence; legal system
Article
Child sexual abuse affects thousands of families each year. Issues pertaining to the prevalence, identification, and treatment of sexual abuse have been relatively well explored in the literature as they pertain to the dominant European American culture. These issues, however, are still relatively unexplored in terms of how sexual abuse affects Asian American families and the Asian American community. We review the relevant literature in Asian American families. These matters are explored in the context of Asian American values such as collectivity, conformity, inconspicuousness, middle position virtue, shame, self-control, and fatalism. Attitudes toward family, sexuality, and the mental health system are also discussed. Cultural and institutional barriers to underutilizing mental health services are also explored, and suggestions for overcoming these barriers are offered.
Article
This study analyzed 390 (303 girls and 87 boys) cases of child sexual abuse to understand sex differences in child sexual victimization. Analyses focused on three domains that have received considerable empirical attention: victims' relationships with the offender, type and extent of abuse, and disclosure. Findings largely replicated previous efforts that reported sex differences in terms of victims' relationships with offenders. Although results also replicated previous findings about sex differences in disclosure patterns, these sex differences were minor in comparison with similarities in the way most instances of abuse were eventually identified. In terms of type and extent of abuse, results were the opposite of previous findings: girls, not boys, were the victims of more physical injury, violent threats, and use of force; and girls, not boys, were more likely to have physically resisted abuse. Divergences in findings were interpreted in terms of memory biases and social forces operating differently on the sexes.
Article
Procedures for investigating allegations of child sexual abuse have come under intense scrutiny by social critics, researchers, and the courts. Concerns about under- and overidentification have fueled two approaches to evaluation: the indicator approach, which seeks to specify symptoms that can be used to identify sexually abused children, and the assessments approach, which analyzes conditions associated with accurate versus inaccurate event reports. A review of research from these approaches reveals a number of gaps between empirical results and commonly cited aphorisms about how to discriminate between true and false reports. Four principles for designing studies and communicating findings are suggested to improve the interface between research and practice.
Article
This study describes the disclosure processes of a sample of 68 sexually abused girls, with a focus on the manner in which abuse was revealed-on purpose, accidentally, or resulting from a precipitating event. This categorization is a more descriptive conceptualization of the disclosure process than has been proposed or assessed in previous studies. The circumstances surrounding disclosure are found to be related to long term psychological functioning. Children who disclosed accidentally were younger, experienced abuse for shorter durations, and received the most therapy. At follow-up, children who purposely disclosed had greater anxiety and greater difficulties coping. Discussion focuses on ways in which identifying and encouraging the least traumatic methods of disclosure would contribute to better outcomes for victims of sexual abuse.