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NCJ Number: 43615 Find in a Library
Title: CHILD SEXUAL ASSAULT BY A FAMILY MEMBER - DECISIONS FOLLOWING DISCLOSURE
Journal: VICTIMOLOGY - AN INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL  Volume:2  Issue:2  Dated:SPECIAL ISSUE (SUMMER 1977)  Pages:236-249
Author(s): A W BURGESS; L L HOLMSTROM; M P MCCAUSLAND
Corporate Author: Visage Press, Inc
United States of America
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 14
Sponsoring Agency: Visage Press, Inc
Alexandria, VA 22314
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: TO STUDY THE CONFLICTS BETWEEN LOYALTY TO THE VICTIM AND LOYALTY TO THE OFFENDER WHICH OCCUR WHEN A FAMILY MEMBER SEXUALLY ASSAULTS A CHILD, 44 CASES WERE FOLLOWED; 22 ENTERED THE COURT SYSTEM.
Abstract: IN THIS STUDY, THE ASSAULT WAS DISCOVERED BY A CLUE, SUCH AS BLOOD OR INJURY TO THE GENITAL AREA, IN 43 PERCENT OF THE CASES; THE CHILD TOLD SOMEONE IN 36.5 PERCENT; THERE WERE WITNESSES IN 9 PERCENT; AND NO INFORMATION FOR THE REST. IN 8 OF THE 44 CASES, THE HOSPITAL, BOSTON CITY HOSPITAL PEDIATRIC WALK-IN CLINIC, MASS., RECOMMENDED IMMEDIATE COURT PLACEMENT IN A FOSTER HOME. IN THE OTHER INSTANCES, 9 WERE HANDLED AS A FAMILY MATTER, 7 ASKED FOR MENTAL HEALTH INTERVENTION, 2 HAD PROBATE COURT INTERVENTION, AND 22 CRIMINAL COURT INTERVENTION. THE MOLESTER WAS GENERALLY THE FATHER, STEPFATHER, A MAN LIVING IN A CONSENTUAL UNION WITH THE MOTHER, AN UNCLE, OR COUSIN. MOST OF THE ATTACKS TOOK PLACE IN THE HOME. THE DECISION TO CALL THE POLICE OR PRESS CHARGES WAS ALMOST ALWAYS A DISTRESSING ONE, AND THE ENTIRE PROCESS OFTEN TOOK A PERIOD OF WEEKS. THIRD PARTIES WERE FREQUENTLY ASKED TO INTERVENE. USUALLY IT WAS THE NURSE AT THE HOSPITAL WHO DISCOVERED THE ATTACK AND OFTEN SHE WAS ASKED FOR ADVICE. IN THE TWO PROBATE COURT CASES, THE MOTHER FILED FOR DIVORCE AND CUSTODY OF THE CHILD. IN THE CRIMINAL CASES, THE SAME PROBLEMS OCCURRED IN PROSECUTION AS OFTEN OCCUR WITH ADULT RAPE. THE OFFENDER DISAPPEARED BEFORE THE PROBABLE CAUSE HEARING IN 10 CASES. IN ONE CASE, A 14-YEAR-OLD GIRL WAS SENT BACK TO HER NATIVE STATE AND CHARGES DROPPED. IN OTHER CASES, THE MOTHER MOVED TO ANOTHER STATE WITH THE CHILD OR THE CHILD WAS SENT OUT OF THE HOME AND CHARGES DROPPED. THREE CASES COMPLETED TRIAL. IN ONE, THE OFFENDER PLEADED GUILTY TO ASSAULT ON HIS 5-YEAR-OLD NIECE AND WAS GIVEN A 2-YEAR PROBATIONARY SENTENCE AND ORDERED TO SEEK PSYCHIATRIC TREATMENT. ONE FATHER WAS FOUND NOT GUILTY OF ASSAULT ON HIS 14-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER. A THIRD CASE HAS BEEN APPEALED. THREE CASES ARE STILL PENDING. AGENCIES WHICH WORK WITH THE CHILD MUST UNDERSTAND THAT THE LACK OF TERRITORIAL SAFETY AND THE FEELING OF BEING BETRAYED BY A FAMILY MEMBER AFFECTS LONG-TERM BEHAVIOR. THE CHILD MAY ALSO FEEL RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DISRUPTION OF FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS.
Index Term(s): Child molesters; Crimes against children; Massachusetts; Sexual assault; Studies; Victimology
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=43615

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