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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 127396 Find in a Library
Title: Ritual Abuse (From Case Studies in Family Violence, P 187-207, 1991, Robert T. Ammerman and Michel Hersen, eds. -- See NCJ-127384)
Author(s): C C Kent
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 21
Sponsoring Agency: Plenum Press
New York, NY 10013
Sale Source: Plenum Press
233 Spring Street
New York, NY 10013
United States of America
Type: Survey
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Three case studies illustrate the different problems clinicians may encounter in understanding and treating cases in which allegations of ritual abuse are made.
Abstract: Ritual abuse is defined as repeated physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual assaults combined with the systematic use of symbols and ceremonies designed to attain malevolent effects. Although one purpose of ritual abuse may be to gain personal spiritual power or "please Satan," another purpose may be to systematically break down the victim's sense of self in order to assure cooperation with group goals. The three case studies demonstrate medical, legal, social, and family issues associated with ritual abuse. Identifying the type of abuse experienced is an important initial step in assessing victim psychopathology. It is essential to recognize behavioral indicators that may differentiate sexual abuse victims from those who also experience ritual abuse. Characteristics of ritual abuse victims include confusion about values, deep mistrust of authority figures and social structures, concerns of a spiritual nature, fear of being abducted or killed by a cult, and concerns about being different and unacceptable. Many victims of ritual abuse suffer from some form of post-traumatic stress disorder, and dissociation and hallucinations may be present. The most effective treatment for ritual abuse victims must be determined on an individual basis, taking into account the victim's age, the degree of involvement in ritual practices and abuse, and the extent of psychopathology involved. 17 references
Main Term(s): Ritualistic crimes
Index Term(s): Domestic assault prevention; Sexual assault victims; Victims of violent crime
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