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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.
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Journal of Child Sexual Abuse
ISSN: 1053-8712 (Print) 1547-0679 (Online) Journal homepage:
The Prevalence of Child Sexual Abuse among
Slovak Late Adolescents
Slavka Karkoskova & Ivan Ropovik
To cite this article: Slavka Karkoskova & Ivan Ropovik (2018): The Prevalence of Child
Sexual Abuse among Slovak Late Adolescents, Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, DOI:
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Published online: 11 Dec 2018.
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The Prevalence of Child Sexual Abuse among Slovak Late
Slavka Karkoskova
and Ivan Ropovik
Judicial Academy of the Slovak Republic,, Pezinok, Slovakia;
St. Elisabeth University of Health Care
and Social Work, Slovakia;
Department of Preschool and Elementary Education and Psychology,
University of Presov, Bratislava, Slovakia
The present study aimed to assess the prevalence and character-
istics 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 4356% disclosed the abuse to another person. The major-
ity 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.
Received 31 July 2018
Revised 12 November 2018
Accepted 13 November 2018
Child sexual abuse;
prevalence; late
adolescence; disclosure
Child sexual abuse (CSA) is one of the most serious socio-pathological phenomena
due to its widespread international prevalence (Barth, Bermetz, Heim, Trelle, &
Tonia, 2013;Finkelhor,1994; Pereda, Guilera, Forns, & Gómez-Benito, 2009;Sapp
&Vandeven,2005; Stoltenborgh, van IJzendoorn, Euser, & Bakermans-
Kranenburg, 2011) as well as its relation to significantly higher risk of both
short- and long-term negative consequences (Cutajar et al., 2010; Fergusson,
Boden, & Horwood, 2008; Paolucci, Genuis, & Violato, 2001).
Society shall take all appropriate measures to protect children from all
forms of violence and abuse, including sexual abuse (United Nations, 1989,
2011). The level of awareness regarding the prevalence of CSA in any
particular country can influence the character and intensity of protective
measures. In this regard, lack of research on the prevalence of violence
CONTACT Slavka Karkoskova Judicial Academy of the Slovak Republic,
Suvorovova 5/C, Pezinok 902 01
© 2018 Taylor & Francis
against children is a crucial problem (Slovak national strategy, 2013); by
relying solely on statistical data from cases only reported to authorities, it
can lead to a gross underestimation of the problem.
Establishing accurate estimates of the occurrence of CSA is complicated.
Extremely discrepant rates of CSA are reported in a number of empirical
studies conducted in this field in different countries and populations over the
past decades (de Tychey, Laurent, Lighezzolo-Alnot, Garnier, & Vandelet,
2015). In Finkelhors(1994) study, prevalence rates from 21 countries ranged
from 7% to 36% among females and a 3% to 29% among males. More recent
meta-analysis indicates prevalence rates ranging from 8% to 31% among
females and from 3% to 17% among males (Barth et al., 2013).
It is well established that methodological differences (e.g., different definitions of
CSA, measurement issues, sample characteristics, or design of the survey) account
for variance in the rates of CSA across studies. Researchers identified several
aspects in which definitions of CSA vary: cut-off age for childhood (varying
from 15 to 17 years); whether or not a minimum age difference between victim
and perpetrator is set (ranging from no restriction, to offenders aged at least
35 years older, to adults only), and the level of contact qualifying an incident as
CSA (ranging from penetrative acts only, through a broad spectrum of contact and
non-contact forms of abuse) (Bolen & Scannapieco, 1999; Goldman & Padayachi,
2000; Stoltenborgh et al., 2011). Related to this issue, the number and specificity of
questions asked in order to assess CSA may affect the outcomes; more questions
(Bolen & Scannapieco, 1999; Finkelhor, 1994; Goldman & Padayachi, 2000;
Mathews & Collin-Vézina, 2017;Stoltenborghetal.,2011). What is defined as
abuse may differ from one person to another unless it is clarified. Thus, using
behaviorally specific rather than general labelquestions can minimize the rate of
false-negative and false-positive results from respondentssubjective perception or
interpretation (Cranera et al., 2015;Fricker,Smith,Davis,&Hanson,2003;
Mohler-Kuo et al., 2014). Lifetime CSA prevalence may vary considerably depend-
ing on the sampling techniques (e.g., random samples, convenience samples, clinic
populations) as well as on the actual age of the respondents in a sample (Finkelhor,
1994; Goldman & Padayachi, 2000). Because of high rates of continuing victimiza-
tion that occur during the late teen years, assessments of CSA are more accurate
when conducted among the oldest youth (Finkelhor, Shattuck, Turner, & Hamby,
2014). Variations in prevalence rates can also be partly linked to survey design
(e.g., confidentiality guarantee as perceived by the respondents).
To date, few studies have provided only partial data on the prevalence of CSA in
Slovakia (Fedor, Buchanec, Uchaľová, Fedor Ml., & Bánovčin, 2011;Fico,
2013;Máthé,2006 In: Slovak national strategy for the protection of children against
violence, 2013). None of these studies have focused solely on CSA. Questions
regarding CSA were just a small subgroup of questions (57) among many other
enquiring about respondentsexperiences with various forms of violence during
childhood (Fedor et al., 2011;Fico,2013; Slonad, 1999 In: Slovak national strategy
for the protection of children against violence, 2013)orabouttheirsexualbehavior
(Máthé, 2006). Survey questions did not cover non-contact forms of CSA and
mostly defined childhood as 15 years of age or younger; in these surveys the
perpetrator was also defined as an adult. In these studies, survey respondents
were children aged 1416 years (Fico, 2013; Slonad, 1999 In: Slovak national
strategy for the protection of children against violence, 2013)orchildrenand
adults aged 1528 years (Fedor et al., 2011)and1569 years (Máthé, 2006).
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 childrens 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.
circumstances associated with, CSA in a large-scale sample of late adolescents in
Slovakia using the Child Sexual Abuse Questionnaire (CSAQ) (Mohler-Kuo et al.,
2014) consisting of multiple behavior-specific questions which also covers non-
contact forms of CSA. We consider late adolescence to be an appropriate age for
participation in a survey study focusing on CSA experiences. It is more probable
that late adolescents (rather than young adolescents) will understand survey
questions properly and answer them responsibly. Also, memory retrieval among
late adolescents may be more reliable given the fact that, although CSA can be
retained well in the memory, it may be vulnerable to normalmemory processes
such as forgetting in later age (Goodman-Delahunty, Nolan, & Van Gijn-
Grosvenor, 2017). Because no representative study concerning CSA prevalence
among Slovak late adolescents has been published in English yet, our findings will
provide the most contemporary estimates for future prevalence meta-analyses.
The present study was carried out between November 2, 2015 and January 27, 2016
on a population of Slovak secondary school students in their final year with a target
modal age of 1819 years. A randomized cluster sampling plan was employed.
Based on an index of all (public and private) secondary schools in eastern Slovakia
(195 schools, 474 final year classes, and 11,454 students), 120 classes (in 100
schools) were selected by random number generation. Having no legal obligation,
27 schools chose not to participate for various reasons.
The sample comprised 874 (40%) boys and 1,312 (60%) girls, having the mean
age of 18.58 years (SD = .72). Overall, 14 questionnaires were either lost due to
technical problems or were deemed invalid and five students chose to withdraw
fromthestudy,resultinginafinalsamplesizeofn= 2,186, representing 19.1% of
the defined population. Since previous nationwide surveys (Fico, 2013)have
shown eastern and western Slovakia are equivalent with respect to the overall
prevalence of CSA, we assume that our estimates of the overall prevalence of CSA
can be expected to approximately hold also for the Western part. The data from the
2013 study, however, do not allow to infer whether that is necessarily true for
individual CSA subtypes. Although we aimed for a representative sample, a non-
trivial number of approached schools (27) chose not to participate. Moreover, the
sampling frame involving only secondary school students may have induced
selection bias. Namely, the prevalence of CSA in students who dropped out before
getting into the final year is likely higher than for the students who did not. The
prevalence estimates can thus be expected to be a bit downward biased.
Sociodemographic characteristics of the sample can be seen in Table 1.
Following study approval by the Department of Education of the concerned Self-
governing Region Authorities, school managements were assured that data collec-
tion procedures were confidential and that the procedure precludes the possibility
to identify individuals or their school affiliation. Questionnaires were administered
by trained research assistants who were acquainted with privacy and data protec-
tion issues. Utilizing informed consent procedures, all participants were briefed on
the purpose of the study, confidentiality, and their rights to withdraw from the
study at any time without reason. Moreover, it was emphasized that, by design, the
time needed to finish the questionnaire was the same regardless of whether the
participant identified as a victim of CSA or not. Participants who did not identify as
victims of CSA were automatically given a questionnaire on CSA-related urban
myths and deeply rooted beliefs (these data are not a part of the present study). The
computer-assisted administration of the questionnaire took place in a dedicated
computerlabofeachparticipatingschoolwith supervision by a research assistant
and teacher. Participants sat alone, with a free chair on each side, to prevent study
participants from seeing one anothers content. Most participants finished the
questionnaire within 40 min and at the end, they were provided contact informa-
tion for organizations offering specialist support, counseling and further informa-
tion about CSA-related issues.
The present study employed the CSAQ (Mohler-Kuo et al., 2014). The CSAQ
measures the prevalence of CSA in a comprehensive manner, covering 15 forms of
CSA within three overarching clusters. (1) CSA without physical contact involved 8
yes/no items. For contact forms of abuse, there were 7 items with three response
options, namely No,”“Yes, someone tried but did not succeed,and Yes,
someone tried and succeeded in doing so.These seven items (3 main items
with any of the Yesresponses, 4 shared items with Yes, someone tried but did
not succeedresponses) indicated the cluster (2) CSA with physical contact without
penetration.(3)CSA with physical contact with penetration involved the above
mentioned 4 shared items with Yes, someone tried and succeeded in doing so
response. In case the participant endorsed any of the items, a question targeting
the frequency of the abuse immediately followed. After completing the CSAQ, the
participant who identified herself as a victim of CSA (responding Yesto any of
the items) was presented a follow-up set of items targeting various aspects of the
abuse. If more than one form of abuse was reported, the participants were asked to
focus on the one that they subjectively consider as the most severe.
Table 1. Participant characteristics.
n% (95% CI)
Male 874 40.0 (37.9, 42.1)
Female 1,312 60.0 (57.9, 62.0)
17 17 0.8 (0.5, 1.2)
18 1,122 51.4 (49.3 53.4)
19 834 38.2 (36.2, 40.3)
20 191 8.8 (7.6, 10.0)
21+ 18 0.8 (0.5, 1.3)
Urban 1,048 47.9 (45.8, 50.1)
Rural 1,138 52.1 (49.9, 54.2)
School type
High school (gymnasium) 529 24.2 (22.4, 26.1)
Vocational 1,656 75.8 (73.9, 77.5)
Mothers education
Elementary school 87 4.0 (3.2, 5.0)
Secondary school 1,678 77.8 (76.0, 79.5)
University 392 18.2 (16.6, 19.9)
Fathers education
Elementary school 48 2.2 (1.7, 3.0)
Secondary school 1,777 83.5 (81.9, 85.1)
University 302 14.2 (12.7, 15.8)
Family structure
Both biological parents 1,896 86.7 (85.2, 88.1)
Other 289 13.2 (11.8, 14.7)
Number of siblings
0 174 8.0 (6.9, 9.2)
1 942 43.1 (41.0, 45.2)
2+ 1,070 48.9 (46.8, 51.1)
The prevalence of CSA was analyzed separately for the three given clusters and
gender. As is typical in prevalence studies, a rather large number of associa-
tions between CSA rates and various sociodemographic characteristics can be
tested. However, without the adjustment of the αlevel for the number of
hypothesis tests, this leads to the inflation of Type I errors. The adjustment
considerably attenuates the statistical power especially when the hypothesis
tests are being carried out on a smaller subset of the sample. Apart from that,
the classical frequentist approach of null hypothesis significance testing
employing χ
tests or likelihood ratio tests cannot (without additional proce-
dures like equivalence testing) provide formal support for the null hypothesis
(i.e., no difference in prevalence rates for different levels of a demographic
variable). Last but not least, the associated p-values, when seen as evidence,
tend to overestimate the evidence against the null hypothesis (Wagenmakers,
2007). As usual in high-powered studies, practically negligible effects may
become statistically significant (due to very small standard errors), even though
they are, in fact, more consistent with the null hypothesis.
For these reasons, prevalence studies frequently provide rather uninformative
measures of evidence, e.g., p< .001 (sometimes given tiny effects), or non-
significance the failure to reject H
. Whether this failure is due to underpowered
testing of a real effect or a genuine absence of a noteworthy effect usually remains
unknown. These shortcomings can be overcome with the use of Bayesian methods.
To assess the independence of the observed categorical variables, the current study
employed the Gunel-Dickey default Bayes factors (BFs) for contingency tables with
the Poisson sampling plan assuming all cell counts to be random and a uniform
prior distribution according to which all possible values are equally probable
(Gunel & Dickey, 1974; Jamil et al., 2016). BF is a continuous measure of evidence,
defined as the ratio of two conditional probabilities tied to the alternative (H
null hypothesis (H
), given the observed data. It represents the degree to which the
data should shift our beliefs about the relative odds for these two competing
hypotheses (Jeffreys, 1961). A BF thus reflects the relative plausibility of a theory
postulating the existence of an effect vs. the theory of null effect in terms of their
predictive accuracy. The magnitude of these effect sizes was assessed by relative risk
(risk ratio) calculated by unconditional maximum likelihood estimation (Wald)
with the associated bootstrap confidence intervals (based on 1e6 bootstrap
Prior to analyses, data were screened for improbable values. No data transfor-
mations or imputation techniques were employed. All analyses were performed in
R(version 3.2.3) using the following packages: epitools (Aragón, 2012), BayesFactor
(Morey & Rouder, 2015), dplyr (Wickham & Francois, 2016), car (Fox & Weisberg,
2011), and stringr (Wickham, 2015). All analyses reported in this paper are meant
to be fully reproducible. Data and complete Rcode documenting the entire analytic
workflow are available here:
Prevalence of CSA
The self-reported lifetime prevalence of at least one form of CSA was
47.3% among girls and 22.0% among boys, with a corresponding relative
risk of 2.2 (i.e., compared to boys, girls are slightly more than two times
likely to experience CSA). Almost identical risk ratios were observed for
the two non-penetrative clusters, with the following prevalence propor-
tions: 40.6% among girls and 17.7% among boys for CSA without contact,
and 30.2% among girls and 11.6% among boys for CSA with physical
contact but without penetration. The prevalence of CSA with penetration
was 5.6% among girls and 1.3% among boys, with girlsrisk to be sexually
abused being 4.4 times the risk for boys. Overall, the data on the pre-
valence of CSA as categorized within these three clusters provide over-
whelming evidence for the strong association between CSA prevalence and
gender. Here, the BFs vastly exceeded the suggested (Jeffreys, 1961)level
for claiming extreme evidence (BF > 100) by several orders of magnitude.
However, when broken down by the specific forms of CSA, the following
could be concluded:
(1) With regard to CSA without physical contact, the evidence for higher
overall population difference in favor of girls were driven exclusively
by two relatively most frequent forms of abuse, i.e., molested by
someone verbally or by e-mail/messageand sexual harassment via
Internet(with huge BFs of 2.2e34 and 2.6e21, respectively). Although
the abuse forms forced to show naked bodyand given intimate
pictures against the willwould have been statistically significant if
tested for gender effect within the frequentist approach, the data were,
in fact, insensitive (BF
within the 1/33 range). Regarding the other
four non-contact abuse forms, the data provide rather strong evidence
ranging from 10.1 to 24.6, i.e., data under H
being 1025 times
more likely than under H
) for the independence of their prevalence
and gender.
(2) As for CSA with physical contact but without penetration, the most
frequent sexual abuse form was kissed or touched against will(>34
times more likely than any other non-penetrative contact CSA form).
Given the associated BFs, there was good evidence for girls being at
greater risk of CSA in all of the respective forms.
(3) Concerning CSA with penetration, there was compelling evidence for
significantly higher prevalence in girls only for forced oral inter-
course.With other CSA penetrative forms, despite slightly higher
relative risks, the data did not allow for a robust formal inference, as
is the case with any other prediction of low base-rate events. For CSA
prevalence rates, relative risks, and BFs, see Table 2.
Seventy-four percent of participants reporting CSA without contact were
revictimized, with 36.0% being revictimized more than five times. For CSA
with contact without penetration, 48.5% experienced the abuse more than
once and 16.9% more than five times. A relatively high number of revicti-
mization (54.8%) was found among participants reporting any penetrative
form of CSA; 26.2% reported experiencing more than five instances of
penetrative sexual abuse.
Characteristics of reported CSA
As can be seen in Table 3,morethanhalfofreportedCSAoccurred
between 16 and 18 years of age in all three cluster types. For CSA without
physical contact and CSA with physical contact but without penetration,
most girls reported that the perpetrator was older than 18 years. For most
of the CSA cluster types, a relatively high number of participants
(1837%) reported not knowing the age of the perpetrator. However, for
penetrative CSA, the proportion of dontknowresponses by girls was
70% (only 15% of these perpetrators were strangers). The girls reported
abuse almost exclusively by males. In boys, females accounted for 6278%
of CSA without contact and CSA with contact without penetration,
With regard to the perpetrator, the severity of abuse was inversely related
to the proportion of reports involving a stranger as the perpetrator and
positively associated with rising reported proportion of a partner or acquain-
tance as the perpetrator; it is notable that in approximately one-third of all
CSA cases, the perpetrator was the partner. A family member engaging into
sexual abuse was uniformly reported by approximately 57% of victims
(overall, the frequencies related to boys reporting penetrative CSA cannot
be considered stable due to small n). Most of the instances of CSA occurred
at home, at someone elses house, or public places, across all the CSA cluster
types. Internet accounted for approximately 2329% of non-contact CSA.
Roughly 4356% of participants disclosed the abuse to another person. The
majority of disclosed CSA was revealed to peers and partners. Only 718% of
CSA was disclosed to parents. A negligible proportion of CSA instances were
reported to the police. The highest proportion of disclosure was among girls
who experienced penetrative CSA.
Table 2. Prevalence of CSA by gender and type of abuse.
Girls (n= 1,312) Boys (n= 874)
n% (95% CI) n% (95% CI) Relative risk
(95% CI) Bayes factor
Any type of child sexual abuse 621 47.3 (44.6, 50.1) 192 22.0 (19.3, 24.9) 2.2 (1.9, 2.5) BF10 = 3.3e31
Sexual abuse without physical contact 533 40.6 (38.0, 43.3) 155 17.7 (15.3, 20.4) 2.3 (2.0, 2.7) BF10 = 9.1e27
Forced to witness sexual exposure 39 3.0 (2.1, 4.0) 17 1.9 (1.1, 3.1) 1.5 (0.9, 2.9) BF01 = 10.1
Forced to show naked body 53 4.0 (3.0, 5.3) 17 1.9 (1.1, 3.1) 2.1 (1.3, 3.9) BF10 = 1.7
Forced to watch people having sex 26 2.0 (1.3, 2.9) 10 1.1 (0.5, 2.1) 1.7 (0.9, 4.3) BF01 = 12.4
Forced to watch pornographic material 49 3.7 (2.8, 4.9) 36 4.1 (2.9, 5.7) 0.9 (0.6, 1.4) BF01 = 20.0
Pictures taken of nude body against the will 36 2.7 (1.9, 3.8) 20 2.3 (1.4, 3.5) 1.2 (0.7, 2.2) BF01 = 24.6
Given intimate pictures against the will 46 3.5 (2.6, 4.6) 16 1.8 (1.0, 3.0) 1.9 (1.1, 3.7) BF01 = 1.9
Molested by someone verbally or by e-mail/message 398 30.3 (27.9, 32.9) 74 8.5 (6.7, 10.5) 3.6 (2.9, 4.6) BF10 = 2.2e34
Sexual harassment via Internet 359 27.4 (25.0, 29.9) 88 10.1 (8.2, 12.3) 2.7 (2.2, 3.4) BF10 = 2.6e21
Sexual abuse with physical contact without
396 30.2 (27.7, 32.7) 101 11.6 (9.5, 13.9) 2.6 (2.2, 3.2) BF10 = 9.1e22
Kissed or touched against the will 319 24.3 (22.0, 26.7) 81 9.3 (7.4, 11.4) 2.6 (2.1, 3.6) BF10 = 2.5e17
Forced to kiss someone 87 6.6 (5.3, 8.1) 24 2.7 (1.8, 4.1) 2.4 (1.6, 4.0) BF10 = 280
Forced penetration with finger or object; tried but not
77 5.9 (4.7, 7.3) 12 1.4 (0.7, 2.4) 4.3 (2.5, 9.1) BF10 = 185,783
Forced vaginal intercourse (girls only); tried but not
109 8.3 (6.9, 9.9) 0 0 (0, 0.4) NA NA
Forced anal intercourse; tried but not succeeded 64 4.9 (3.8 6.2) 8 0.9 (0.4, 1.8) 5.3 (2.9, 14.7) BF10 = 109,202
Forced oral intercourse; tried but not succeeded 62 4.7 (3.6, 6.0) 10 1.1 (0.5, 2.1) 4.1 (2.3, 9.8) BF10 = 5,080
Forced into prostitution 54 4.1 (3.1, 5.3) 13 1.5 (0.8, 2.5) 2.8 (1.6, 5.8) BF10 = 24.1
Sexual abuse with penetration 73 5.6 (4.4, 6.9) 11 1.3 (0.6, 2.2) 4.4 (2.6, 9.9) BF10 = 117,661
Forced penetration with finger or object 35 2.7 (1.9, 3.7) 9 1.0 (0.5, 1.9) 2.6 (1.3, 6.7) BF10 = 1.2
Forced vaginal intercourse (girls only) 32 2.4 (1.7, 3.4) 0 0 (0, 0.4) NA NA
Forced anal intercourse 11 0.8 (0.4, 1.5) 0 0 (0, 0.4) NA BF10 = 1.0
Forced oral intercourse 34 2.6 (1.8, 3.6) 6 0.7 (0.3, 1.5) 3.8 (1.8, 13.0) BF10 = 8.8
Boys as the reference group.
BF10 = Bayes factor in favor of the alternative hypothesis, H
. BF01 = Bayes factor in favor of the null hypothesis, H
. NA = not
Table 3. Characteristics of the reported CSA.
CSA without physical contact CSA with physical contact without penetration CSA with physical contact with penetration
Girls (n= 533) Boys (n= 155) Girls (n= 396) Boys (n= 101) Girls (n= 73) Boys (n= 11)
Age of first CSA occurrence
<6 3.9 (2.5, 6.0) 11.0 (6.5, 17.0) 4.0 (2.3, 6.5) 11.9 (6.3, 19.8) 2.7 (0.3, 9.5) 9.1 (0.2, 41.2)
611 5.6 (3.8, 7.9) 3.2 (1.1, 7.4) 5.1 (3.1, 7.7) 5.0 (1.6, 11.2) 2.7 (0.3, 9.5) 9.1 (0.2, 41.2)
1215 35.1 (31.0, 39.3) 31.6 (24.3, 39.6) 30.3 (25.8, 35.1) 21.8 (14.2, 31.1) 37.0 (26.0, 49.1) 9.1 (0.2, 41.2)
1618 55.3 (51.0, 59.6) 54.2 (46.0, 62.2) 60.6 (55.6, 65.4) 61.4 (51.2, 70.9) 57.5 (45.4, 69.0) 72.7 (39.0, 94.0)
Age of perpetrator
<15 2.8 (1.6, 4.6) 3.2 (1.1, 7.4) 3.5 (2.0, 5.9) 3.0 (0.6, 8.4) 4.1 (0.9, 11.5) 0
1518 14.4 (11.6, 17.7) 27.1 (20.3, 34.8) 21.0 (17.1, 25.3) 42.6 (32.8, 52.8) 2.7 (0.3, 9.5) 54.5 (23.4, 83.2)
>18 58.7 (54.4, 62.9) 32.3 (25.0, 40.2) 57.3 (52.3, 62.3) 29.7 (21.0, 39.6) 23.3 (14.2, 34.6) 18.2 (22.8, 51.8)
Dont know 24.0 (20.4, 27.9) 37.4 (29.8, 45.5) 18.2 (14.5 22.3) 24.8 (16.7, 34.3) 70.0 (58.0, 80.1) 27.2 (0.6, 61.0)
Sex of perpetrator
Male 99.2 (98.1, 99.8) 38.1 (30.4, 46.2) 100 (99.1, 100) 21.8 (14.2, 31.1) 100 (95, 100) 0
Female 0.8 (0.2, 2.0) 61.9 (53.8, 69.6) 0 78.2 (68.9, 85.8) 0 100 (71.5, 100)
Relationship with perpetrator
Family member 5.1 (3.4, 7.3) 7.1 (3.6, 12.3) 7.3 (5.0, 10.3) 6.9 (2.8, 13.8) 6.8 (2.3, 15.3) 18.2 (2.3, 51.8)
Partner 18.8 (15.5, 22.3) 20.0 (14.0, 27.1) 23.0 (18.9, 27.4) 30.7 (21.9, 40.7) 35.6 (24.7, 47.7) 54.5 (23.4, 83.2)
Acquaintance 26.6 (22.9, 30.6) 27.1 (20.3, 34.8) 39.1 (34.3, 44.1) 37.6 (28.2, 47.8) 42.5 (31.0, 54.6) 18.2 (2.3, 51.8)
Stranger 49.2 (44.8, 53.5) 45.8 (37.8, 54.0) 30.3 (25.8, 35.1) 24.8 (16.7, 34.3) 15.1 (7.8, 25.4) 9.1 (0.2, 41.2)
Place of CSA
At home 20.6 (17.3, 24.3) 25.8 (19.1, 33.4) 26.8 (22.5, 31.4) 23.8 (15.9, 33.3) 34.2 (23.5, 46.3) 36.4 (10.9, 69.2)
At another house 21.6 (18.2, 25.3) 16.8 (11.3, 23.6) 27.2 (22.9, 31.9) 30.7 (21.9, 40.7) 42.5 (31.0, 54.6) 36.4 (10.9, 69.2)
Public place 29.1 (25.3, 33.1) 30.3 (23.2, 38.2) 36.4 (31.6, 41.3) 44.6 (34.7, 54.8) 31.5 (21.1, 43.4) 45.5 (16.7, 76.6)
School/on way to school 3.4 (2.0, 5.3) 11.0 (6.5, 17.0) 4.0 (2.3, 6.5) 9.9 (4.9, 17.5) 6.8 (2.3, 15.3) 36.4 (10.9, 69.2)
Internet 28.9 (25.1, 32.9) 22.6 (16.3, 30.0) 9.6 (6.9, 12.9) 2.0 (0.2, 7.0) 0 0
Other 7.5 (5.4, 10.1) 6.5 (3.1, 11.5) 10.4 (7.5, 13.8) 4.0 (1.1, 9.8) 9.6 (3.9, 18.8) 0
Yes 43.0 (38.7, 47.3) 42.6 (34.7, 50.8) 47.5 (42.5, 52.5) 50.5 (40.4, 60.6) 56.2 (44.1, 67.8) 45.5 (16.7, 76.6)
To whom was CSA disclosed
Parent 13.7 (10.9, 16.9) 5.8 (2.7, 10.7) 16.9 (13.3, 21.0) 6.9 (2.8, 13.8) 16.4 (8.8, 27.0) 18.2 (2.3, 51.8)
Other family member 7.9 (5.7, 10.5) 9.0 (5.0, 14.7) 9.1 (6.4, 12.4) 10.9 (5.6, 18.7) 6.8 (2.3, 15.3) 18.2 (2.3, 51.8)
Peer, partner 38.9 (34.7, 43.1) 34.2 (26.8, 42.2) 43.2 (38.2, 4.8) 40.6 (30.9, 50.8) 53.4 (41.4, 65.2) 36.4 (10.9, 69.2)
Other(s) 5.3 (3.5, 7.5) 6.5 (3.1, 11.5) 7.6 (5.2, 10.6) 7.9 (3.5, 15.0) 23.3 (14.2, 34.6) 9.1 (0.2, 41.2)
Yes 2.1 (1.0, 3.7) 2.5 (0.1 6.5) 2.5 (1.2, 4.6) 0.1 (0.0, 5.4) 5.5 (1.5, 13.4) 9.1 (0.2, 41.2)
multiple responses allowed. In case of revictimization, participants were asked to provide characteristics of the subjectively most severe abuse.
Characteristics associated with CSA
The only characteristic that is uniformly and strongly associated with the
prevalence of CSA across all three cluster types was gender, as discussed
above (see Table 4). With respect to residence, the data provide moderate-to-
strong evidence for the hypothesis of no effect in all cluster types. The BFs
also generally strongly support the null effects of parents education and
number of siblings. Here, relatively high-risk ratios for an underrepresented
population of parents with only elementary education were largely out-
weighed by overall moderate risk for participants having parents with sec-
ondary education (vocational or high school). Further, there is highly
convincing evidence for the association of school type and prevalence of non-
contact CSA and contact CSA without penetration; participants attending
vocational schools being at greater risk. For penetrative CSA, the data sup-
port the null hypothesis with regard to the effect of school type. With regard
to family structure, there was a convincing pattern with increased risk for
other family structure compared to a family with two biological parents (BFs
equal to 46 and 556 for non-contact and contact CSA without penetration,
respectively). For penetrative CSA, given the low natural frequencies and
a relative risk of 2.2, the probability of the data assuming the existence of an
effect was 2.8 times higher than the probability of data given no effect of
family structure on the prevalence of penetrative CSA.
In this sample of late adolescents, we found CSA to be relatively prevalent.
Through 18 years of age, 47.3% of girls and 22.0% of boys experienced at
least one form of CSA. These findings should be interpreted within the
context of our expanded definition of CSA, including a spectrum of CSA
forms reflected in behaviorally specific questions (Cranera et al., 2015;
Fricker et al., 2003), full period of childhood (Finkelhor et al., 2014) and
no age limitations regarding perpetrators.
The most commonly reported form was CSA without physical contact
(40.6% among girls and 17.7% among boys). As Internet accounted for
approximately 2329% of non-contact CSA, prevention programs should
involve recommendations regarding online behavior. 30.2% of girls and
11.6% of boys reported CSA with physical contact without penetration and
5.6% of girls and 1.3% of boys admitted CSA with penetration. The high
prevalence of seemingly less severe forms of CSA should not be trivialized.
Even non-contact types of CSA may have negative consequences on
a victims health and wellbeing (Landolt et al., 2016; Paolucci et al., 2001).
Pérez-Fuentes et al. (2013) point out that the experience of abuse may be
more important for the victim than the specific type of abuse, leading
Table 4. Characteristics of participants.
CSA without physical contact CSA with physical contact without penetration CSA with physical contact with penetration
Relative risk (95% CI) Bayes
factor Relative risk (95% CI) Bayes
factor Relative risk (95% CI) Bayes
Male 1 BF10 = 9.1e27 1 BF10 = 9.1e22 1 BF10 = 117,661
Female 2.3 (1.9, 2.7) 2.6 (2.2, 3.2) 4.4 (2.6, 10.0)
Urban 1 BF01 = 9.4 1 BF01 = 4.8 1 BF01 = 20.2
Rural 1.0 (0.9, 1.2) 0.9 (0.8, 1.1) 0.9 (0.6, 1.3)
School type
High school 1 BF10 = 4,216.8 1 BF10 = 27.3 1 BF01 = 7.4
Vocational 1.5 (1.2, 1.7) 1.4 (1.2, 1.7) 1.6 (1.0, 3.2)
Mothers education
University 1 BF01 = 24.9 1 BF01 = 2.7 1 BF01 = 323.1
Secondary school 1.1 (1.0, 1.4) 1.3 (1.0, 1.6) 1.2 (0.7, 2.4)
Elementary school 1.4 (1.0, 1.8) 1.8 (1.2, 2.5) 2.1 (0.6, 5.2)
Fathers education
University 1 BF01 = 33.6 1 BF01 = 15.0 1 BF01 = 510.9
Secondary school 0.9 (0.8, 1.1) 0.9 (0.8, 1.2) 1.8 (1.0, 5.6)
Elementary school 1.2 (0.8, 1.7) 1.6 (1.0, 2.4) 0.9 (0.0, 4.2)
Family structure
Both biological parents 1 BF10 = 46.34 1 BF10 = 556.3 1 BF10 = 2.8
Other 1.4 (1.2, 1.6) 1.6 (1.3, 1.9) 2.2 (1.3, 3.4)
0 1 BF01 = 115.3 1 BF01 = 125.9 1 BF01 = 23.7
1 1.0 (0.9, 1.1) 1.0 (0.8, 1.4) 1.8 (0.8, 8.5)
2+ 1.0 (0.8, 1.3) 1.0 (0.8, 1.4) 1.0 (0.5, 4.9)
different types of abuse to generate similar stress; moreover, forms of abuse
that may appear less severe can have serious consequences on adult mental
health if they occur repeatedly. In this context, it is worth noting that the
level of revictimization in our sample was highest in the non-contact cluster
of CSA.
Consistent with past research (e.g., Fico, 2013; Mohler-Kuo et al., 2014;
Pereda et al., 2009; Stoltenborgh et al., 2011) being female was a significant
predictor of CSA. Another risk factor was not living with both biological
parents (Berliner, 2011; Laaksonen et al., 2011). In our sample, the fact that
participants attending vocational schools had a greater risk of experiencing
non-contact CSA and contact CSA without penetration calls for intensifying
CSA preventive activities within these types of schools.
The severity of CSA is generally positively associated with the proportion of
perpetrators being known to the victim. It is well known that widespread
stereotypes about a dangerous stranger grossly relativize the risk of attack and
harm caused by someone familiar. In fact, sexual assault perpetrated by a person
known to the victim is not only more frequent but potentially more pervasive
than stranger perpetrated assaults because it involves an element of betrayal,
increases the likelihood of delayed detection, and increases the likelihood of
unsupportive social reactions toward the victim (Freyd & Birrell, 2013).
The most important finding originating from this research is that more
than half of CSA occurred between 16 and 18 years of age in all three
CSA cluster types. Consistent with research (Finkelhor et al., 2014), late
adolescence represents a lifetime with a significantly increased risk of
sexual victimization. The impacts of CSA are then amplified by the fact
that as victims age they are at greater risk of facing victim-blaming
attitudes (Back & Lips, 1998; Bottoms & Goodman, 1994;Davies&
Rogers, 2009; Klettke & Mellor, 2017; Maynard & Wiederman, 1997;
Rogers, Josey, & Davies, 2007).
This study also revealed that in approximately one-third of all CSA cases,
the perpetrator was the partner. Dating violence is a widespread phenom-
enon (Vagi, OMalley Olsen, Basile, & Vivolo-Kantor, 2015; Wincentak,
Connolly, & Card, 2017) and this topic should be a part of sexual violence
prevention programs focused on adolescents (Lundgren & Amin, 2015).
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 litera-
ture (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.
Consistent with previous studies (Fico, 2013; Mohler-Kuo et al., 2014;
Priebe & Svedin, 2008) these findings also reveal that peers or partners are
the most frequent recipients of victimsdisclosure. This has important impli-
cations for preventive measures, as it emphasizes the importance of bystander-
oriented prevention models applied mostly to high school and college-age
populations (Cook-Craig et al., 2014; Katz & Moore, 2013). Bystanders
(as the carriers of community norms related to sexual violence) play a role
not only in primary and secondary prevention but they are also a crucial part of
tertiary prevention as the quality of their reaction to victimsdisclosure can
either help or hinder the victimsrecovery process (Banyard, 2015). Bystanders
can offer support and referral to resources or provide negative responses that
silence victims and compound their distress (Banyard, 2015). While a number
of promising prevention programs that train bystanders exist abroad (Katz &
Moore, 2013), the implementation of such programs is still a challenge in
Slovakia. The urgency to address this challenge is even stronger in the light of
a previous Slovak study which found that friends are not only the most
frequent recipients of victimsdisclosure, but they are also those who most
often doubt or question the victims (Fico, 2013).
Our findings also provide support for the widely held belief that the vast
majority of CSA cases go unreported to the authorities; this is consistent with
previous research findings (e.g. Mills, Kisely, Alati, Strathearn, & Najman,
2016; Mohler-Kuo et al., 2014; Priebe & Svedin, 2008; Stoltenborgh et al.,
2011). Abuse dynamics, evidential difficulties, the risk of secondary victimiza-
tion and other reasons discourage many CSA victims from ever reporting to
police. The fact that the criminal justice system is largely limited in its response
to sexual offenses (McAlinden, 2007) raises questions whether efforts should
be invested into reducing its limitations or into promoting a restorative justice
approach to these types of offenses (Marsh & Wager, 2015; Yantzi, 1998).
The present study adopted Mohler-Kuo et al.s(2014) behavior-specific
items questionnaire, which covers a wide range of possible CSA types. In
previous Slovak studies examining the prevalence of CSA, non-contact forms
of CSA were largely ignored, and contact and penetrative forms of CSA were
inquired more superficially. Because the adopted measure covered many types
of behavior-specific manifestations of CSA, the data can be conveniently meta-
analyzed. In this way, our data is fully comparable to other CSA prevalence
research irrespective of the narrowness or broadness of the definitions utilized,
thereby facilitating the cumulative character of the knowledge in the field.
As the questionnaire was administered to respondents on the verge of
adulthood, the data can thus reflect the whole time-span of childhood until
late adolescence. At the same time, the age of our respondents makes it
reasonable to assume that most are mature enough to be aware of the severity
of the phenomenon surveyed and thus answered the survey in a more
responsible manner.
Moreover, we have made every effort to eliminate the risk of social stigma-
tization for those who identified as CSA victims in our survey. Considering
that many victims would not wish to uncover their CSA-related experiences to
other schoolmates, we designed the questionnaire to be completed online by
respondents, offering them a different set of questions depending on whether
they did or did not self-identify as a victim. The length of time needed to finish
the questionnaire was designed to be invariant regardless of whether the
participant identified self as a CSA victim or not. We believe that the higher
level of privacy provided to respondents made their responses sincerer.
Limitations and conclusion
The current study is not without limitations. While only five students chose to
withdraw from the study, 27 schools chose not to participate for various reasons.
We cannot rule out the possibility that CSA prevalence among students attend-
ing those schools is higher, as avoidance of this sensitive topic can contribute to
an environment in which CSA thrives. Another limitation is that our sample did
not include students who are more vulnerable to sexual victimization than intact
population and who attend special schools (Berliner, 2011). Furthermore, as is
common with any victimological survey relying on a self-reported retrospective
recollection, there isuncertainty about whether the reported experiences actually
occurred (Goldman & Padayachi, 2000), although it is widely accepted that
denial of real CSA is a greater threat to validity than fabrication (Fergusson,
Horwood, & Woodward, 2000; Hardt & Rutter, 2004;Lyon,2007). Mills et al.
(2016) in their population-based birth cohort study found that a substantial
proportion (nearly 40%) of victims whose exposure to CSA was officially
reported and substantiated, failed to recall any CSA when asked about it in
early adulthood (age 21). Recall bias is thus an important issue in retrospective
reports on CSA. It is virtually certain that some offenses will not be recalled
because, e.g., they could have occurred in early childhood before a childs ability
to encode memories developed; were forgotten due to being considered unim-
portant or not understood as abusive (Goodman-Delahunty et al., 2017));
traumatic memories can fluctuate in their persistence, with periods of time in
which some memories are relatively less accessible (Sivers, Schooler, & Freyd,
2002). In addition, current mood or mental health can also lead to recall bias,
where mood-congruent information is more readily recalled than mood-
incongruent information (Colman et al., 2015;Lewis,Critchley,Smith,&
Dolan, 2005). Some victims may also consciously choose not to disclose CSA
because of discomfort, feelings of guilt, or shame (Freyd & Birrell, 2013).
The present study demonstrates that CSA is a relatively widespread and
considerably covert phenomenon among Slovak late adolescents. Prevention
activities should consider the broad spectrum of CSA forms in order to counter-
act tendencies to associate CSA solely with unwanted sexual intercourse. It is
clear than vulnerability to sexual victimization continues to be present even in
late adolescence. In this regard, the rights described in United Nations
Convention on the Rights of the Child (United Nations, 1989) are in no way
less relevant for adolescents than they are for younger children (Ruck, Keating,
Saewyc, Earls, & Ben-Arieh, 2014). The negligible proportion of CSA instances
reported to the police also emphasizes the importance of respecting presumption
of victim status a principle according to which unless proven otherwise a
person should be considered to be a victim regardless of whether an offender is
identified, apprehended, prosecuted or convicted(Directive, 2012/29/EU). This
principle should also be stressed in prevention activities focused on the larger
public as well as in educational activities intended for professionals.
Implementation of bystander-oriented prevention models could equip adoles-
cents as well as adults with the tools necessary to be safer and more active
recipients of victimsdisclosure.
The authors are also grateful to the research assistants who administered the questionnaire,
namely: TomášHorvát, Beáta Vasková, Erika Tarasovičová, Viktória Peštová, Simona
Kravcová, Marianna Ficeková, Michal Lörinc, Róbert Toth, Ingrid Senková, Jana Bernátová,
Paulína Klimková, and Petra Vavreková.
Disclosure of Interest
The authors do not have any interests that might be interpreted as influencing the results
reported in this study.
This work was supported by the Slovak Research and Development Agency [APVV-16-0471
and APVV-17-0418].
Ethical standards and informed consent
All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible
committee on human experimentation, namely the Department of Education of the concerned
Self-governing Region Authorities and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in
2000. Informed consent was obtained from all participants for being included in the study.
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Slavka Karkoskova, PhD., is an associate professor at St. Elisabeth University of Health Care
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fically focused on child sexual abuse.
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... Child sexual abuse (CSA) is one of the most serious and widespread socio-pathological phenomena that negatively affects the lives of many children (Goldman & Padayachi, 2000;Karkošková & Ropovik, 2018). The prevalence of sexual abuse reported by various studies often varies, with a global prevalence estimated at 11.8 % indicating a high number of sexually abused children (Stoltenborgh et al., 2011). ...
... Sexual abuse is a serious traumatic event characterized by complex dynamics. Despite the fact that most victims disclose abuse, only a negligible part of the cases is reported to the competent authorities (Karkošková & Ropovik, 2018). Victims who disclose a history of sexual abuse are often questioned and are not perceived as credible, as a result of which child victims continue to live with persistent serious negative consequences and mental health problems and are often denied access to the treatment they need. ...
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Theoretical background: Assessing the credibility of child sexual abuse (CSA) disclosure by experts from many fields working with child abuse cases is complex due to several variables and may even be influenced by many biases. Research confirms that, among other factors, the emotions that a child expresses during the disclosure of sexual abuse are an important factor in assessing the credibility of a child victim (Wessel et al., 2015). Understanding the basic characteristics of sexual abuse disclosure can greatly facilitate the protection of children from further victimization and, at the same time, prevent the unjustified punishment of the falsely accused (Alcantara et al., 2019). The lack of perceived credibility of the child victim when disclosing the history of sexual abuse is a serious problem as it may affect a) the child's own adaptation, b) the legal consequences for the alleged perpetrator, and c) the likelihood of a potential child victim's willingness to testify repeatedly (Alcantara et al., 2019). The lay assumption that a real CSA victim should respond with grief has been refuted by the research of Sayfan et al. (2008), who state that children can use strategies to regulate negative emotions, such as hiding their emotional states from others in situations potentially related to abuse, and describe a specific emotional response to violence. Research aim: The aim of the quasi-experiment was to verify the results of selected research studies (Wessel et al., 2015), which focus on the perceived credibility of the child victim showing various emotional expressions. In particular, the aim was to find out how the following emotional expressions-sad, angry, neutral and positive-of the child during the disclosure of sexual abuse affect the perceived credibility of the child victim. The study was based on the following assumptions: 1) the highest level of credibility of the child victim would be related to the sad and neutral emotional expression and 2) the angry and positive emotional expression would be related to the lower perceived credibility of the child victim. Methods: The research sample consisted of 34 psychology students, aged 20-25 years (M = 21.83, SD = 1.55). The stimulus material in the form of video recordings of interviews with a potential CSA victim was created by the authors of this study, based on the recommendation of Cromer and Freyd (2007). The interview protocol providing the basis for the creation of video recordings was developed by Wessel et al. (2015). The script describes a section from a conversation between a potential female child victim (portrayed by an acting student) and an adult male investigator, during which a potential child victim discloses the fact that she has been the victim of her father's sexual abuse. There are four different emotional expressions in the script (sad, angry, neutral and positive). Video recordings of the interviews were exposed to probands and the level of the perceived credibility of the victim was verified. The victim's credibility was measured with the Child Sexual Assault Victim Credibility Scale (CSAVCS) (Voogt et al., 2017). The CSAVCS scale consists of 23 items divided Človek a spoločnosť [Individual and Society], 2021, Vol. 24, No. 3, pp. 20-33. The effect of emotional expression during the disclosure of sexual abuse on the perceived credibility of the CSA victims 21 into five domains, including accuracy (5 items), believability (4 items), competency (3 items), reliability (4 items) and truthfulness (7 items). All items are rated on a 6-point Likert scale (1-strongly disagree to 6-strongly agree). Data were processed using the statistical program SPSS-version 23-and the statistical program Jamovi-version 1.2.16. Repeated measures ANOVA (within-subjects effects) together with Mauchly's sphericity test were used for data analysis. Results: Repeated measures ANOVA (within-subjects effects) together with Mauchly's sphericity test were used to verify the assumptions regarding the effect of different emotional expressions on the perceived credibility of the CSA victim. The significant result of Mauchly's sphericity test (p = 0.011) indicated that the assumption of sphericity was violated, therefore the Greenhouse-Geiser correction was applied. The result of the main statistical test repeated measures ANOVA (within-subjects effects) confirmed a statistically significant effect of the child's emotional expression on the perceived credibility of the child victim F (2.06, 45.39) = 20.0, p = 001, η 2 P = 0.476, η 2 G = 0.335. Similarly, the results of the Friedman test indicated that the perceived credibility rates of the child victim of sexual abuse corresponding to individual emotional expressions differed statistically significantly, depending on the emotional expression X 2 (2) = 38.0, p = 001. The difference in the perceived credibility of the potential CSA victim was confirmed if the disclosure was accompanied by a positive emotional expression compared to a neutral, sad or angry emotional expression. The results confirmed a significantly lower level of the perceived credibility of the CSA victim when the disclosure was accompanied by a positive emotional expression. Differences in the perceived credibility of a child during the disclosure of sexual abuse in the case of a neutral, sad, and angry emotional expression were not shown to be significant. Conclusion: The study examined the effect of four different emotional expressions conveyed by a child during the disclosure of sexual abuse on the perceived credibility of the CSA victim. For this purpose, a quasi-experiment was designed and implemented in order to verify how the different emotional expressions of the child (sad, positive, angry and neutral) affect the perceived credibility of the child victim. The sample of psychology students showed a statistically significant difference in the level of the perceived credibility of the child whose disclosure was accompanied by a positive emotional expression compared to the perceived credibility of the child during the disclosure accompanied by a sad, angry or neutral emotional expression. A significant difference in the perceived credibility of the child was not confirmed if the disclosure was accompanied by a sad and neutral emotional expression. Likewise, there was no statistically significant difference in the perceived credibility of the child during the abuse disclosure if accompanied by an angry, sad and neutral emotional expression. The results of the statistical analysis suggest that the perceived credibility of the child decreases significantly only if the disclosure is accompanied by a positive emotional expression. The findings of the study are important for understanding the impact of different emotional expressions of the child conveyed during the disclosure of the abuse on the perceived credibility of the child. After further validation, the results may be useful to experts who encounter the CSA victim, and may contribute to reduce possible bias in the interaction with the child victim.
... Con respecto a los rasgos de personalidad identificados en los agresores, se constató que el abuso sexual estaba específicamente relacionado con la grandiosidad, mientras que la solicitud sexual se relacionaba tanto con la impulsividad como con la grandiosidad. Asimismo, otro estudio realizado con una muestra de adolescentes eslovacos (Karkoskova y Ropovik, 2018) muestra que, la prevalencia de formas sin contacto del abuso sexual infantil fue del 40.6% entre las niñas y del 17.7% entre los niños. Más de la mitad de los casos de abuso sexual infantil ocurrieron entre los 16 y 18 años. ...
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La violencia sexual es un problema social que puede estar presente a lo largo de toda la vida de una persona, tanto en la infancia como en la vida adulta. Además, en los últimos años, se ha observado un incremento de los delitos contra la libertad sexual (agresión y abuso sexual), pronunciándose en edades adolescentes. En este sentido, el presente trabajo trata de abordar el estudio de la violencia sexual en menores de edad desde el ámbito de la Psicología Forense. Para ello, en primer lugar, desarrollamos un marco teórico en el que se contempla la prevalencia tanto nacional como internacional del fenómeno objeto de estudio, la tipificación del mismo en el código penal de nuestro país, así como las consecuencias que presentan las víctimas de violencia sexual. A su vez, presentamos la función del psicólogo forense en casos como el que nos ocupa, la obtención de la entrevista, huella psicológica y el sistema de evaluación global. En segundo lugar, se expone un informe pericial psicológico de un caso de abuso sexual a una víctima menor de edad en el que se aplica el protocolo del Sistema de Evaluación Global (SEG).
... 14 Esta amplitud de rango se debe a las diferencias en la definición conceptual, el instrumento de medición, las características de la muestra y el diseño del estudio. 15,16 La prevalencia es menor si se utiliza una definición que sólo incluya contacto fisico en comparación con una que implique conductas abusivas sin este contacto. 1,14 Las estimaciones se incrementan cuando se realizan preguntas múltiples vs. una sola pregunta, o el autorreporte vs. la entrevista cara a cara. ...
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Objetivo. Determinar la prevalencia de abuso sexual infantil (ASI) por sexo en adolescentes a partir de la Encuesta Nacio- nal de Salud y Nutrición 2018-19 y analizar las asociaciones con características sociodemográficas, conductas de riesgo e indicadores de salud mental. Material y métodos. Se analizó el cuestionario para población adolescente (10-19 años), se estimaron prevalencias de ASI y se realizó un mo- delo de regresión logística ajustado por variables de interés. Resultados. La prevalencia nacional de ASI es de 2.5% (3.8% mujeres y 1.2% hombres). Entre las mujeres se encontró asociación con la edad, el estado conyugal, el tipo de localidad, el consumo excesivo de alcohol, la sintomatología depresiva y los pensamientos suicidas. Entre los hombres, se encontró asociación con el nivel socioeconómico, la sintomatología depresiva y los pensamientos suicidas. Conclusiones. Es urgente realizar estudios con mayor precisión y periodicidad y garantizar el acceso a los servicios de salud y de justicia posevento. Palabras clave: abuso sexual infantil; encuestas nacionales; adolescentes; México
... The majority of disclosed CSA was revealed to peers and partners. A negligible proportion of CSA instances were reported to the police [22]. ...
Sexual violence are escalating not only in Malaysia but all over the world. Most often the perpetrator have close contact with the victim. Sexual violence against children and women brings with it long-term complications. The victims suffer in silence. Effective and organised preventive measures are necessary to safe guard the vulnerable innocent people. Keywords: Sexual abuse, Sexual harassment, Sexual violence.
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Monografia neprináša právnu analýzu problematiky sexuálneho zneužívania detí (hoci na viacerých miestach odkazuje na relevantné legislatívne aspekty a ponúka tiež stručný právny predhovor), ale kladie si za cieľ sprístupniť aktuálne vedecké poznatky, bez zohľadnenia ktorých môže byť aj právne uchopenie problematiky náchylnejšie na omyly. V prvej kapitole autorka približuje skutočnosť, že definície a chápanie sexuálneho zneužívania detí sa v epidemiologických štúdiách, politických a práv¬nych dokumentoch rôznia. Analyzujúc tieto rozdiely a opierajúc sa o poznatky zo sociálnych vied, práva, vývinovej psychológie a etymológie, ponúka konceptuálny model sexuálneho zneužívania detí, v ktorom sú identifikované kľúčové komponenty tohto fenoménu. Úvodná kapitola prináša aj údaje o prevalencii sexuálneho zneužívania detí a o faktoroch, ktoré sa podieľajú na latencii tohto fenoménu. Dotýka sa tiež problematiky výskytu krivých obvinení ako aj obvinení zo sexuálneho zneužívania detí v kontexte poručenských sporov po rozchode alebo rozvode rodičovského páru. Druhá kapitola sumarizuje kľúčové vedecké poznatky o mužoch, ženách i mladistvých osobách, ktoré sa dopúšťajú sexuálneho zneužívania detí. Zdôrazňuje skutočnosť, že nie všetci páchatelia sexuálneho zneužívania detí sú sexuálne deviantní a teda negatívny nález pri sexuologickom znaleckom vyšetrení nemožno chápať ako dôkaz, že osoba skutok spáchať nemohla. Kapitola prehľadne sumarizuje aj teórie vysvetľujúce sexuálne delikventné správanie a detailne približuje grooming (manipuláciu) ako súčasť konania a uvažovania páchateľov. Pozornosť venuje aj významu a kľúčovým komponentom intervencií voči páchateľom (vrátane terapeutických intervencií, probačného dohľadu a ochranných opatrení). Tretia kapitola monografie je zameraná na obete sexuálneho zneužívania detí. Okrem ich profilu približuje následky primárnej viktimizácie, fenomén tzv. kontraintuitívnych reakcií na primárnu viktimizáciu, poukazuje na riziko a časté podoby sekundárnej viktimizácie obetí a problematiku vyhodnocovania všeobecnej a špecifickej vierohodnosti obetí. Štvrtá kapitola sa sústredí na problematiku výsluchu detí – suspektných obetí sexuálneho zneužívania. Sumarizuje aktuálne vedecké poznatky o pamäti a výpovedi obetí sexuálneho zneužívania, objasňuje základné podmienky výsluchu detskej obete, opisuje postup výsluchu detskej obete a načrtáva stratégie na vysporiadanie sa so situáciami, kedy detské obete pri výsluchu neodhaľujú svoje zážitky. Záverečná, piata kapitola upriamuje pozornosť na ľudský faktor a s ním späté riziká zlyhania v procese zhromažďovania a posudzovania dôkazov v prípadoch podozrení zo sexuálneho zneužívania detí. V tomto ohľade poukazuje na riziko predsudkov a kognitívnych skreslení u profesionálov, na prvky zabezpečujúce efektivitu výcviku profesionálov realizujúcich výsluchy poškodených, a napokon aj na potrebu reflektovania a prevencie sprostredkovanej (sekundárnej) traumatizácie profesionálov. V prílohe publikácie zároveň čitatelia a čitateľky nájdu prehľadne štruktúrovaný návod na vedenie výsluchu u detí, u ktorých je podozrenie že sa stali obeťami sexuálneho zneužívania detí. Ide o slovenský preklad tzv. NICHD protokolu, ktorý je vo svete považovaný za zlatý štandard vo vedení takéhoto výsluchu.
This study aimed to understand the status of knowledge, attitudes, and educational practice of child sexual abuse (CSA) prevention among primary school teachers in a city of Guangdong province, China in order to provide baseline information for CSA prevention training for teachers. Teachers from 8 schools in a city of Guangdong province were surveyed, in May 2019, via an anonymous self-administered questionnaire. On the whole, primary school teachers had positive attitudes toward CSA prevention, but their knowledge and educational practice for CSA prevention were somewhat limited. Results of multiple logistic regression showed that older teachers (40 years or older) (OR = 1.692. 95%CI 1.135, 2.521), classroom teachers (OR = 1.877. 95%CI 1.269, 2.776), and teachers who had participated in training (OR = 4.293. 95%CI 2.907, 6.339) had more educational practice. The findings in this study could provide useful information for developing further CSA prevention education in primary schools.
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Background: Child sexual abuse (CSA) is one of the most serious socio-pathological phenomena. However, its identification is challenging and linked to the risk of false positive and false negative conclusions, with far-reaching consequences for the lives of those affected. Incorrect assessments of suspected CSA cases can be made not only by lay people, but also by helping professionals who gather and evaluate information, consider further procedures and make decisions. Aim: The aim of the presented review study is to summarize current scientific knowledge that answers two key questions. (1) what contributes to errors in the assessment of relevant cases; and (2) how these errors can be prevented. Method: Previous research has shown that personal beliefs significantly influence the processes by which individuals search for, store, and interpret relevant information (Kahneman et al., 1982). For the purposes of this study, databases of scientific publications were primarily searched for research papers that mapped the beliefs of helping professionals in relation to CSA, as well as papers on strategies to reduce errors in the assessment processes of relevant cases. Results: We identified three significant groups of beliefs that could lead to misjudgments of suspected CSA cases: (1) Misconceptions about CSA-especially about: (a) the prevalence and nature of CSA (including the assumption that CSA usually involves the use of physical force and sexual intercourse); (b) the CSA perpetrators (e.g., that they are mentally disturbed or sick; that CSA committed by a woman has a less harmful effect on victims than CSA with a male perpetrator; that the victim's peer cannot be the perpetrator); (c) the victims' responses to sexual abuse (including the dynamics of disclosure about CSA experiences; the dynamics of behavior in further contact with the perpetrator); (d) the memory performance of child victims during forensic interview (especially regarding the expected amount of details and consistency of testimony); (e) the way of conducting interrogations with suspected CSA victims (including the sensitivity of professionals to suggestive techniques); (f) the CSA diagnosis method (including the assumption that spontaneous game observation is a good method for assessing suspected CSA); (g) the frequency of false accusations. (2) Beliefs related to the implications of the case assessment-especially: (a) excessive trust in the testimony of children versus skepticism (some professionals may tend to rule out false accusations and thus disregard the rights of the accused person, while others may approach suspected CSA cases with the a priori belief that a high percentage of CSA cases are untrue and therefore do not take great account of the rights and interests of the suspected victim); (b) beliefs about the functioning of the child welfare system (where distrust in this system may encourage professionals to fail to fulfill mandatory reporting regarding suspected CSA cases); (c) an emphasis on sensitivity versus specificity (i.e. either focusing on minimizing the occurrence of false negative conclusions to prevent the actual victim of the CSA from being identified and cared for, or concentrating on minimizing false positive conclusions to prevent the innocent person from being convicted); (d) beliefs regarding the removal of the child from the family. (3) Beliefs about one's own objectivity and expertise-especially the frequent false beliefs of professionals that with the increasing length of practice and the amount of experience with CSA cases, the level of expertise Človek a spoločnosť [Individual and Society], 2020, Vol. 23, No. 3, pp. 1-17. Beliefs of helping professionals within the context of child sexual abuse assessment 2 automatically increases. Experienced professionals can be simultaneously prejudiced and convinced of the correctness of their own erroneous beliefs. At the same time, more experienced professionals tend to have a more intuitive approach to assessing CSA cases. In this respect, various cognitive biases (especially patternicity, confirmatory bias, availability bias, anchoring, representativness heuristic, bias blind spot and the Dunning-Kruger) effect play a negative role. In the conclusion, the review study recommends several strategies in order to improve the practice and reduce errors in the assessment of the cases in question. It emphasizes the important role of the continuing education of relevant professionals in confronting participants with current scientific knowledge on CSA issues; encourages helping professionals to reflect on their own beliefs, which may influence the assessment of the cases in question, and recommends mastering the so-called Bayesian reasoning and effective methods to eliminate cognitive bias. At the same time, the study considers precise work with hypotheses, weighting evidence, supervision, the submission of expert opinions to independent review and slowing down of work strategies as an effective strategy of eliminating various prejudices. In addition, it proposes a multidisciplinary team approach to CSA case assessment-although the study does note that the impact of the group approach on the final outcomes of the case assessment process has not been sufficiently scientifically examined yet. Conclusion and implications: The study emphasizes that the beliefs of helping professionals and decision-making skills play an important role in the CSA case assessment process, and that without the targeted application of effective strategies to eliminate cognitive biases and prejudices, the quality of case assessments is endangered. The members of various helping professions (especially educators, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, police officers, prosecutors and judges) who come into contact with suspected CSA cases may find the review study useful. Although the content of the study is based on the results of foreign research, it has application potential in Slovakia, especially in relation to the preparation of content in the continuous education of professionals, the focus of supervision in helping professions, or the designing of Slovak research projects focusing on these issues.
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The problem of defining “child sexual abuse” (CSA), and the need to define this concept, has been recognized by major policy bodies and leading researchers since the 1970s. Recent demands for a more theoretically robust, explicit definition of CSA show this challenge remains urgent. In this article, we identify problems caused by variance in definitions of CSA for five domains: research and knowledge formation, legal frameworks and principles, prevention efforts, policy responses, and the establishment of social norms. We review and analyze definitions used in leading international epidemiological studies, national and international policy documents, social science literature, and legal systems in the United States, Canada, and Australia to demonstrate the continuing use of different concepts of CSA and identify key areas of conceptual disagreement. Informed by our literature review, we use a methodology of conceptual analysis to develop a conceptual model of CSA. The purpose of this model is to propose a more robust, theoretically sound concept of CSA, which clarifies its defining characteristics and distinguishes it from other concepts. Finally, we provide operational examples of the conceptual model to indicate how it would translate to a classificatory framework of typologies of acts and experiences. A sound conceptual model and classificatory system offers the prospect of more appropriate and effective methods of research, response, regulation, and prevention. While total consensus is unattainable, this analysis may assist in developing understanding and advancing more coherent approaches to the conceptual foundation of CSA and its operationalization.
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We assessed a nationally representative sample of 6,751 Swiss 9th grade students (mean age 15.5 years) attending public schools. Methods of sampling and the procedure of data collection have been described in a previous publication [4]. CSA was assessed by means of the Child Sexual Abuse Questionnaire (CSAQ) [4]. Based on this measure, the subjects were classified into four mu- tually exclusive categories: (1) no CSA: no exposure to any type of CSA; (2) non-contact CSA only: exposure to any CSA event with- out physical contact; (3) contact CSA only: exposure to any CSA event with physical contact only, or (4) both types of CSA: expo- sure to both contact and non-contact CSA. Lifetime prevalence of CSA: roughly 40% of females and 17% of males reported experience of some type of CSA in their life- times, with ‘non-contact CSA only’ considerably more prevalent in both genders (24.7 and 12.1%, respectively) than ‘contact CSA only’ (5.1 and 2.3%) and both types of CSA (10.5 and 2.8%). The risk of females experiencing all categories of CSA was consider- ably higher than for males (OR = 2.37, 2.28, and 4.12, respective- ly). More details on specific types of CSA are reported elsewhere [4]. ANOVAs examining differences between the four groups were highly significant with regards to all outcome measures for the overall sample for boys and girls alike (table 1). Post hoc tests re- vealed a consistent pattern in most measures, showing that par- ticipants who had experienced both types of CSA had the lowest HRQoL and poorest mental health, whereas participants with no history of CSA had the highest scores for HRQoL as well as the best mental health. Notably, in almost all measures, participants with non-contact CSA only were significantly more impaired than par- ticipants with no history of CSA. Males had better mental HRQoL as well as less mental health problems than females across all four groups. Effect sizes were small to medium. Taken together, our results indicate that there is a gradient as- sociation between the severity of CSA and HRQoL and mental health: youths who had experienced both contact and non-contact CSA had the worst overall mental health status. Our findings have a number of implications. First, both contact and non-contact types of CSA should be considered a significant public health problem that needs to be addressed with appropriate measures of primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention. Second, since non-contact types of CSA have a considerable negative as- sociation with mental health and HRQoL, measures addressing Internet safety and monitoring, such as the use of filtering or blocking software or public awareness campaigns, must be ex- panded and augmented. Also, children and adolescents need to be informed on how to protect themselves from these new forms of sexual abuse. Third, with regard to future research there is a need for replication of our findings in other population samples. Also, longitudinal studies are needed to better understand the causal mechanisms that link CSA to negative mental and physical health outcomes.
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The analysis of R×C contingency tables usually features a test for independence between row and column counts. Throughout the social sciences, the adequacy of the independence hypothesis is generally evaluated by the outcome of a classical p-value null-hypothesis significance test. Unfortunately, however, the classical p-value comes with a number of well-documented drawbacks. Here we outline an alternative, Bayes factor method to quantify the evidence for and against the hypothesis of independence in R×C contingency tables. First we describe different sampling models for contingency tables and provide the corresponding default Bayes factors as originally developed by Gunel and Dickey (Biometrika, 61(3):545-557 (1974)). We then illustrate the properties and advantages of a Bayes factor analysis of contingency tables through simulations and practical examples. Computer code is available online and has been incorporated in the "BayesFactor" R package and the JASP program ( ).
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Background: Many studies have used retrospective reports to assess the long-term consequences of early life stress. However, current individual characteristics and experiences may bias the recall of these reports. In particular, depressed mood may increase the likelihood of recall of negative experiences. The aim of the study was to assess whether specific factors are associated with consistency in the reporting of childhood adverse experiences. Method: The sample comprised 7466 adults from Canada's National Population Health Survey who had reported on seven childhood adverse experiences in 1994/1995 and 2006/2007. Logistic regression was used to explore differences between those who consistently reported adverse experiences and those whose reports were inconsistent. Results: Among those retrospectively reporting on childhood traumatic experiences in 1994/1995 and 2006/2007, 39% were inconsistent in their reports of these experiences. The development of depression, increasing levels of psychological distress, as well as increasing work and chronic stress were associated with an increasing likelihood of reporting a childhood adverse experience in 2006/2007 that had not been previously reported. Increases in mastery were associated with reduced likelihood of new reporting of a childhood adverse experience in 2006/2007. The development of depression and increases in chronic stress and psychological distress were also associated with reduced likelihood of 'forgetting' a previously reported event. Conclusions: Concurrent mental health factors may influence the reporting of traumatic childhood experiences. Studies that use retrospective reporting to estimate associations between childhood adversity and adult outcomes associated with mental health may be biased.
This study investigated perceptions of victim culpability in sexual assaults against girls and women according to victim age, perceiver gender, and perceiver parental status. Overall, 420 jury-eligible participants completed an online survey recording their attributions of guilt, responsibility, and blame toward 10-, 15-, and 20-year-old girls and women in relation to sexual assault. Attributions of culpability were affected by whether the victim physically or verbally resisted the abuse, wore sexually revealing clothes, or was described as having acted promiscuously. Fifteen-year-old victims were perceived as more culpable for the abuse than 10-year-old victims. Implications of these findings are discussed.
Objective: The goals of the present review were to determine the prevalence of physical and sexual TDV among adolescents, obtain the rates of teen dating violence (TDV) separately by gender, and examine the potential moderation effects of age, demographics, and measurement. Method: A systematic literature search elicited 101 studies reporting rates for youth aged 13 to 18. Results: Meta-analytic combination produced an overall prevalence of 20% for physical TDV and 9% for sexual TDV. Significant variability in rates was found, with physical TDV ranging from 1% to 61% and sexual TDV ranging from <1% to 54%. Gender differences in physical TDV were significant for perpetration (boys 13% vs. girls 25%) but not for victimization (21% boys and girls). A different pattern was observed for sexual TDV with girls reporting lower rates of perpetration compared with boys (3% vs. 10%) and higher rates of victimization (14% vs. 8%). Moderator analyses revealed higher rates in samples representing higher proportions of older teens (sexual TDV), cultural minority girls (physical TDV), and disadvantaged neighborhoods (physical TDV). Studies using broad measurement tools yielded higher rates of both forms of TDV across gender. Conclusions: Basing the meta-analysis on a large pool of studies with comparable samples, 1 in 5 adolescents reported physical TDV and roughly 1 in 10 reported sexual TDV. Systematic bias in boys' and girls' self-reports was evident along with high variability in TDV rates across studies and significant moderator influences. These findings are suggestive of substantive methodological challenges in extant studies. The obtained rates should be cautiously interpreted and future research should address the methodological limitations of self-reported TDV, taking into consideration the potential influences of gender, demographics, age, and measurement issues when designing TDV research. (PsycINFO Database Record
This briefs integrates and synthesizes an array of research about who helps others and under what conditions and discusses the implications of this research for a bystander intervention focused prevention agenda to reduce sexual and relationship violence in schools and communities. It combines an examination of bystander helping behavior in the specific context of sexual and relationship violence with social psychological research on bystander behavior outside that context in order to inform prevention efforts. This briefs is designed for researchers, practitioners, and students concerned about violence prevention and who are interesting in bystander intervention as a promising prevention strategy. Connections between research and practice are the foundation of this briefs. The briefs addresses the following questions: What is the promise of a bystander approach to violence prevention? Where does it fit within the spectrum of sexual and relationship violence prevention? How do we expand theoretical models of helping behavior to the unique context of interpersonal violence? How can we bring in research from other areas of health behavior change and developmental research on violence to inform a broader bystander action model? It provides a new synthesis and model of bystander interaction. It outlines a strategic plan for new research and next steps in prevention practices. © Springer Cham Heidelberg New York Dordrecht London 2015 . All rights reserved.
Child sexual abuse (CSA) has been associated with many adverse psychiatric outcomes. However, most studies have relied on retrospective self-report of exposure to CSA. We set out to investigate the incidence of CSA in the same birth cohort using both retrospective self-report and prospective government agency notification, and examine the psychological outcomes in young adulthood. The primary outcomes were measures of DSM-IV diagnoses (CIDI-Auto) at age 21. The 21-year retrospective CSA questions were completed by 3739 participants. CSA was self-reported by 19.3% of males and 30.6% of females. After adjustment for potential confounders, both self-reported and agency-notified CSA were associated with increased odds of lifetime major depressive disorder (MDD), anxiety disorders, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For the first time in a birth cohort, this study has shown the disparity between the incidence of CSA when measured by self-report and government agency notification. Despite this discrepancy, adverse psychiatric outcomes are seen when CSA is defined using either method.