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NCJ Number: 113249 Find in a Library
Title: Child Sexual Abuse
Journal: Editorial Research Reports  Volume:1  Issue:11  Dated:(September 18, 1987)  Pages:490-502
Author(s): H Donnelly; H Gimlin
Date Published: 1987
Page Count: 14
Type: Legislative Hearing/Committee Report
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This series of articles examine issues related to the incidence, reporting, and prosecution of child sexual abuse cases.
Abstract: While the incidence of child sexual abuse is difficult to determine, there were approximately 113,000 officially reported cases in 1985. Retrospective studies of adults indicate that the actual extent of child sexual abuse is considerably greater than indicated by official figures. Increasing social awareness of the problem has resulted in increased reporting and has seriously burdened the capacities of child protection agencies to investigate reports. Other problems stem from the number of agencies involved in handling each case. To combat these problems, many communities are emphasizing a multidisciplinary approach. In deciding to pursue a case in the courts, much attention has focused on child witness/victim competence and credibility and the issue of false accusations. To enhance testimony, interviewers have used such techniques as children's drawings, videotaped interviews, and anatomically correct dolls. Once a decision to prosecute has been made, issues arise with respect to the effects of the court procedures on the child and the difficulty of proving allegations. To facilitate prosecution, many States have introduced special trial procedures including closed courtrooms, expedited trials, a presumption of child competency to testify, and the use of hearsay, videotaped, and closed-circuit television testimony. These innovations, however, raise constitutional issues and have led to debate as to whether the legal system unfairly favors the defendant or the victim.
Main Term(s): Child Sexual Abuse
Index Term(s): Juvenile witnesses
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