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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 140029 Find in a Library
Title: Sexual Abuse Allegations in Divorce and Custody Disputes
Journal: Behavioral Sciences and the Law  Volume:9  Issue:4  Dated:(Autumn 1991)  Pages:451-468
Author(s): H Wakefield; R Underwager
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 18
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Professionals who investigate allegations of child sexual abuse must examine each case carefully, avoid immediately dismissing an allegation as false because the parents are divorcing, and resist aligning themselves with the reporting parent's agenda or presuming guilt.
Abstract: Although most professionals believe that the highest percentage of false allegations of child sexual abuse occur during divorce and custody conflicts, disagreement exists regarding how many of these allegations are false. Some professionals assert that they choose to "err on the side of the child" by not taking any chances when abuse is alleged. However, the child is also harmed when a false accusation is viewed as true. The nonabused child has been subjected to a process of interrogation and often to inappropriate therapy, and the relationship with a formerly loved parent may be irretrievably damaged. Therefore, assessment and evaluation must be done with rigorous adherence to the highest standards of the profession, and professionals must be aware of the characteristics of real and false allegations. 103 references
Main Term(s): Child abuse investigations; Child Sexual Abuse
Index Term(s): Child abuse detection; Child custody; Divorce mediation; Marital problems
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