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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 149036 Find in a Library
Title: Three Years After the Verdict: A Longitudinal Study of the Social and Psychological Adjustment of Child Witnesses Referred to the Child Witness Project
Author(s): L D Sas; A Hatch; S Malla; T Dick; P Hurley
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 253
Sponsoring Agency: Centre for Children and Families in the Justice System
London, Ontario N6A 5P6, Canada
Health and Welfare Canada
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Grant Number: 4887-06-91-026
Publication Number: ISBN 1-895953-00-6
Sale Source: Centre for Children and Families in the Justice System
London Family Court Clinic, Inc.
200-254 Pall Mall Street
Suite 200
London, Ontario N6A 5P6,
Type: Survey
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: A prospective followup study was conducted that involved 126 Canadian child victims of sexual abuse who had been referred to the London Family Court Clinic's Child Witness Project for court preparation in 1988 and 1989.
Abstract: Most of the children were females, 38 percent alleged abuse by a family member, 44 percent alleged one abusive incident, and 25 percent described abuse that occurred for more than a year. For the followup, 61 children and parents of 73 children were reinterviewed. During interviews, children were asked to recall how their victimization was discovered by authorities, their impressions of the criminal justice process, what it was like to testify, and their experiences and life events since the court case ended. Children were also readministered a battery of psychological tests. Results showed that children delayed reporting abuse because of fear. Further, only 62 percent said that at least one parent believed they were telling the truth. Many children were against calling the police. Waiting for the case to be concluded took about a year, and this period was difficult for many children. About 25 percent of the children were pressured not to testify. News of a guilty plea was typically met with a feeling of relief. Differences between intrafamilial and extrafamilial abuse victims were found in children's descriptions of life after court. In general, the lives of children were characterized by many stressful circumstances and events, before, during, and after court. In many instances, prosecuting the case did little to resolve the emotional, familial, and social consequences of child sexual abuse. Children experienced difficulties in being court witnesses to their own victimization, and few concessions were made in the courtroom to accommodate their age and vulnerability. Even so, no long-term consequences of testifying per se were observed. 87 footnotes, 36 tables, and 12 figures
Main Term(s): Child victims
Index Term(s): Abused children; Canada; Child Sexual Abuse; Female victims; Foreign courts; Juvenile witnesses; Longitudinal studies; Sexual assault victims; Victims in foreign countries
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