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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 194535 Find in a Library
Title: Statutory Compensation for Victims of Child Sexual Assault: Examining the Efficacy of a Discretionary System
Journal: International Review of Victimology  Volume:8  Issue:1  Dated:2001  Pages:37-62
Author(s): Heather Y. Swanston; Patrick N. Parkinson; Sandra Shrimpton; Brian I. O'Toole; R. Kim Oates
Date Published: 2001
Page Count: 26
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This article presents a study on the award of statutory compensation for victims of child sexual abuse.
Abstract: Statutory schemes provide compensation to victims of crime who suffer a personal injury. Compensation for child sexual assault raises particular difficulties for it does not fit neatly into the conceptual framework of victim compensation schemes. The secrecy that surrounds this crime causes some victims to not report it and to seek claim compensation many years after the event. Because child sexual assault is often not a crime involving physical force and will usually not cause physical injury, claims for compensation generally rest upon proof of psychological injury. While there are victims of sexual abuse who appear not to be affected in the long-term, the majority of victims of childhood sexual abuse do experience medium to long-term effects. The records of the Victims Compensation Tribunal in New South Wales (Australia) were searched for applications for compensation by 183 sexually abused children who were treated in Sydney hospitals during the years 1988 through 1990. The children were followed up at 18 months, 5 years, and 9 years. Psychological and behavioral outcomes were assessed. Results showed that only 28 percent of the eligible victims applied for compensation. A likely reason was lack of information and support networks to assist the parents to make the application. None of the characteristics of the sexual abuse and none of the procedural and evidentiary aspects of the claims were related to the size of the award. The size of the award was not significantly related to any of the 18-month or 9 year follow-up variables. Of the 5 year follow-up variables, the size of the award was inversely related to sadness and depression scores and anxiety. It is concluded that discretionary systems are not suitable in determining levels of compensation for child sexual abuse. 1 figure, 8 tables, 53 references
Main Term(s): Child Sexual Abuse; Victim compensation
Index Term(s): Child abuse; Crime costs; Crimes against children; Financial assistance to victims; Restitution; Restitution programs; Victim attitudes
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