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NCJ Number: 119149 Find in a Library
Title: Intrafamilial Child Sexual Abuse and Forensic Psychiatrists (From Juvenile Psychiatry and the Law, P 107-118, 1989, Richard Rosner and Harold I Schwartz, eds. -- See NCJ-119142)
Author(s): A J Tuckman
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 12
Sponsoring Agency: Plenum Press
New York, NY 10013
Sale Source: Plenum Press
233 Spring Street
New York, NY 10013
United States of America
Type: Issue Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The evaluation by a forensic psychiatrist of a case of child sexual abuse presents many conflicting problems, caused by the roles the forensic psychiatrist assumes in the judicial system and by the highly complex material involved.
Abstract: The psychiatrist wants to aid the child victims, but is aware of the fallibility of psychiatry in relation to certain legal issues. An appropriate role is both to evaluate the abused child and to testify about the dynamics of the victim's symptoms and the family's problems, without extending the testimony into fact-finding. Significant issues of informed consent arise in evaluations of the child victim alone or as part of the family. Evaluators need to be aware of the stages of the child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome and of specific symptoms of abuse. Although children rarely fabricate child sexual abuse, false allegations may occur. Most allegations do not come to trial but are dropped for lack of evidence or settled informally. The decision about whether the child should testify should be made solely on the basis of whether it would benefit the child. Factors to consider in recommending prosecution, therapy, or another disposition include the extent of the abuse, the presence of threats and fear, the child's age, the mental status of the abuser and the mother, and the abuser's willingness to enter therapy. 27 references.
Main Term(s): Child Sexual Abuse
Index Term(s): Child abuse detection; Domestic relations; Family offenses; Forensic psychiatry; Juvenile mental health services
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