skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 121946 Find in a Library
Title: Why Children Don't Tell: Fear and Separation and the Disclosure of Child Sexual Abuse
Journal: New Designs for Youth Development  Volume:8  Issue:2, 3, & 4  Dated:(Spring, Summer, & Fall 1988)  Pages:16-20
Author(s): J F Gilgun
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 5
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Children often have realistic reasons for not disclosing that they have been sexually abused, so professionals from many parts of society should work for social changes to promote a greater disclosure rate and should use the principles of self-determination and informed consent in working with children they suspect may have been sexually abused.
Abstract: Children usually do not tell anyone about the sexual abuse, often from fears of separation and loss. These fears involve concerns about psychological separation and loss through being stigmatized and physical separation and loss through family separation. Although children's worst fears sometimes come true, the outcome is much less dire than they anticipate in other cases. Sometimes, with support, a child can be helped to test reality. Societal changes that would facilitate disclosure would include widespread sex education programs; widespread education programs concerning sexual abuse; massive education programs for members of the legal system, law enforcement, and child protection; massive training of therapists; and legislation and funding to support these efforts. Professionals working with children they think may have been abused should give these children the freedom not to talk about the abuse if they do not feel safe doing so. They must also tell the child what may happen if they choose to disclose the abuse.
Main Term(s): Child Sexual Abuse
Index Term(s): Abused children; Child abuse detection; Child abuse investigations; Child abuse reporting
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.