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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 136980 Find in a Library
Title: Child Sexual Abuse and the Courts
Author(s): A Mayer
Date Published: 1990
Page Count: 91
Sponsoring Agency: Learning Publications, Inc
Holmes Beach, FL 34218-6651
Publication Number: ISBN 1-55691-046-0
Sale Source: Learning Publications, Inc
Marketing Manager
P.O. Box 1338
5351 Gulf Drive
Holmes Beach, FL 34218-6651
United States of America
Type: Issue Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This manual is intended to assist mental health therapists who work with children who have been sexually abused and are or may be involved in the criminal justice system.
Abstract: Therapists need to understand how the courts and the judicial process work with regard to the possible abuse of children. They need to know how to network with the police, prosecutors, and victim witness advocates. They also need to know how to prepare themselves for the possibility that they will testify in court. To help both therapists and child victims of sexual abuse, the manual covers the process of testifying in court, the need to understand child victims, child victims in court, and special cases (custody, day care, mentally handicapped victims, male victims, and mother/female molestation). Important issues in understanding child victims are examined including the type of abuse, the child's age and level of functioning, family dynamics, prior contacts with the legal system or child protective service agencies, the child's adjustment to the home situation, the child's behavior at school, the accommodation syndrome, and parental attitudes. Attention is also paid to the problem of court-induced trauma in child victims, statements made to adults out of court by the child victim, and videotaping initial disclosures for investigative purposes and possible use during trial. Exercises for child victims are included in the manual that can be used with or modified for children of any age. The primary focus is on intrafamilial molestation because of the complicated dynamics of incestuous families. Appendixes contain further information on therapist guidelines, symptoms and reactions of child victims, and the effect of court proceedings on families. 19 references
Main Term(s): Child Sexual Abuse; Juvenile mental health services
Index Term(s): Child victims; Children in the courtroom; Incest; Mental health services
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