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NCJ Number: 43141 Find in a Library
Title: SEXUAL ABUSE OF CHILDREN
Author(s): L COPELAND; M HARRER; S WATKINSBRODY J
Corporate Author: Queen's Bench Foundation
United States of America
Editor(s): J BRODY
Date Published: 1976
Page Count: 71
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE TRAUMA OF SEXUAL ABUSE IS INTENSIFIED FOR CHILDREN BECAUSE THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM MAKES NO PROVISION FOR THE CHILD VICTIM'S SPECIAL NEEDS. SUGGESTIONS FOR CHANGES IN COURT PROCEDURE ARE MADE.
Abstract: A PREVIOUS RAPE VICTIMIZATION SURVEY BY THE QUEEN'S BENCH FOUNDATION INDICATED THAT SEXUAL ABUSE AMONG CHILDREN WAS FAR MORE COMMON THAN HAD BEEN SUSPECTED; IN BOTH NONWHITE FAMILIES AND WHITE FAMILIES AN ESTIMATED 20 PERCENT OF CHILDREN HAVE SUFFERED SOME FORM OF SEXUAL MOLESTATION. THESE INCIDENTS RANGE FROM SIMPLE FONDLING TO FORCIBLE RAPE. HANDLING OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE CASES IN SAN FRANCISCO IS DETAILED. FORCIBLE RAPE AND ASSAULT CASES ARE HANDLED BY THE SEXUAL ASSAULT SECTION OF THE POLICE DEPARTMENT; OTHER CASES BY THE YOUTH SERVICES DIVISION. HOSPITALS HAVE MADE IT A PRACTICE TO SEE VICTIMIZED CHILDREN AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE TO ELIMINATE THE TRAUMA OF SITTING IN THE WAITING ROOM, AND ARE DEVELOPING PROCEDURES FOR SUCH CASES. HOWEVER, A LACK OF PROVISION FOR THE SPECIAL NEEDS OF CHILDREN IS MOST EVIDENT WHEN THE CASE GOES TO COURT. THE CHILD IS SUBJECTED TO THE SAME CROSS-EXAMINATION AS AN ADULT. SINCE 38 PERCENT OF OFFENDERS ARE MEMBERS OF THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY OR CLOSE RELATIVES, THE CHILD SUFFERS FURTHER GUILT FEELINGS BECAUSE OF 'ALL THE TROUBLE I AM CAUSING.' FOLLOWUP SOCIAL SERVICES FOR CHILD AND FAMILY ARE ALSO INADEQUATE. IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THE COURT HAVE A SPECIAL WAITING AREA OUT OF SIGHT OF THE OFFENDER FOR THE CHILD MUST TESTIFY AND THAT A MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL BE APPOINTED TO REPRESENT THE CHILD'S BEST INTERESTS DURING THE COURT PROCEDURE. THIS PERSON SHOULD ALSO PREPARE THE CHILD FOR THE TRIAL. SOCIAL SERVICES UNITS NEED TO BECOME MORE FAMILIAR WITH THE PARTICULAR PROBLEMS OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE AND COORDINATE WITH THE POLICE DEPARTMENT TO ENSURE PROPER HANDLING FOR THE YOUNG VICTIM. APPENDIXES PRESENT SAN FRANCISCO STATISTICS ON CHILD VICTIMS AND OFFENDERS, A PARTIAL LIST OF COMMUNITY RESOURCES, TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES, AND APPLICABLE REPORTING LAWS AND PENAL CODES.
Index Term(s): California; Child abuse; Crimes against children; Sexual assault; Statutory rape; Trial procedures; Trials; Victim services
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=43141

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