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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 141616 Find in a Library
Journal: Law and Human Behavior  Volume:17  Issue:1  Dated:(February 1993)  Pages:95-101
Author(s): J A McIntosh; R J Prinz
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 7
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined whether and to what extent child sexual abuse allegations predominated in a sample of family court divorce and child-custody cases.
Abstract: The data base for the study was all family court cases of divorcing families with children, as well as postdivorce cases pertaining to child custody or access, that were completed during 1987 in the surrounding county of a medium- size southeastern city. A total of 603 such cases were identified from review of 2,675 family court judgments that were issued in 1987. A uniform coding scheme was used for all cases. Three main categories of information were obtained: allegations of sexual and physical abuse; custody, access, and case outcome; and descriptive information on each case. The findings did not support the contention that sexual abuse allegations are commonplace in child custody disputes. Sexual abuse allegations were made in 2 percent of cases in which custody or access was contested and in only 0.8 percent of all the cases. The study recommends that abuse allegations be fully assessed even when a custody dispute is in progress and that the evaluators should be open to the possibilities of abuse, attempted parental alienation, or neither as potential circumstances. 13 references
Main Term(s): Child custody; Child Sexual Abuse
Index Term(s): Family courts
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