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NCJ Number: 149890 Find in a Library
Title: Attorney Attitudes Regarding Behaviors Associated With Child Sexual Abuse
Journal: Child Abuse and Neglect  Volume:18  Issue:8  Dated:(August 1994)  Pages:657-662
Author(s): G L Hartman; H Karlson; R A Hibbard
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 6
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study compared two groups of attorneys regarding their attitudes toward adult-child behaviors that might be related to sexual abuse.
Abstract: Attorneys from prosecutors' offices were identified through the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council. Defense attorneys were identified through the Public Defenders Office. Two deputy prosecuting and/or prosecuting attorneys and two defense attorneys were randomly selected using a random numbers table from every county in Indiana. The Attitudes About Sexual Behavior questionnaire was revised from a questionnaire used in a previous study. The questionnaire assessed professionals' attitudes about different behaviors that could be considered sexual involving an adult and a child. Attorneys were asked to indicate if they felt the behaviors were acceptable, inappropriate, or sexual abuse when they occurred on a single occasion and when they occurred on multiple occasions. There were 21 behaviors listed in approximate order of severity. A total of 329 attorneys were sent questionnaires. A total of 154 attorneys responded (30 percent of the defense attorneys and 66 percent of the prosecuting attorneys). Prosecutors had more severe judgments than the defense attorneys on 32 of the 42 behaviors. They were more likely to indicate that a behavior was inappropriate or abusive. Cognitive dissonance theory is proposed as a possible explanation for these findings. 3 tables and 6 references
Main Term(s): Child victims
Index Term(s): Attitude measurement; Attorneys; Child Sexual Abuse; Court personnel
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