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: 136554 Find in a Library
Title: Sexual Abuse by Psychotherapists: The Call for a Uniform Criminal Statute
Journal: American Journal of Law and Medicine  Volume:17  Issue:3  Dated:(1991)  Pages:289-311
Author(s): M T Borruso
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 23
Type: Legislation/Policy Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examines the nature and scope of sexual exploitation of patients by psychotherapists, reviews six of the nine State criminal statutes that address this behavior, and proposes model provisions for a uniform statute.
Abstract: Recent surveys show an alarming rate of sexual exploitation of patients by psychotherapists. Since such conduct often is outside the scope of rape, which allows a defense of consent, the psychotherapist is not prosecuted under current rape laws. Although all sexual contact between therapist and patient is prohibited by codes of professional ethics, the licensing boards that enforce these codes do not have adequate power to deter this behavior. Additionally, professional review boards have no authority over unlicensed therapists who sexually abuse their patients. Consequently, licensed therapists who have been censured in one State may practice as unlicensed therapists in another State and continue to sexually abuse patients. The only effective deterrent would be a uniform statute adopted in all States that would criminalize this specific abuse of the therapist-patient relationship. Such a statute should include unlicensed therapists as potential offenders, and consent to sexual contact should not be a defense. The statute should also provide for enhanced efforts to inform and protect victims. 128 footnotes
Main Term(s): Abuse of authority; Sex offenses
Index Term(s): Psychologists; State laws
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.