skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 77921 Find in a Library
Title: Child Sexual Abuse - Legal Issues and Approaches
Author(s): J Bulkley; H A Davidson
Corporate Author: American Bar Assoc
National Legal Resource Ctr for Child Advocacy and Protection
United States of America
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 46
Sponsoring Agency: American Bar Assoc
Washington, DC 20036
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
US Dept of Health and Human Services
Washington, DC 20447
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article is intended to give attorneys an introduction to child sexual abuse, its effects on victims, and offender characteristics, as well as to help lawyers intervene sensitively and skillfully in such cases.
Abstract: Sexual abuse as discussed in this article is defined as 'any contacts or interactions between a child and other family member in a position of power or control over the child, where the child is being used for the sexual stimulation of the perpetrator or another person.' In a large percentage of incest cases, the offense is repeated over a period of time ranging from weeks to several years. Force or the threat of its use is rarely used; more often, the child is psychologically enticed by loyalty to, affection for, and dependence upon the adult caretaker. Incest (or any form of sexual victimization) is as devastating to a child's healthy development as any other type of child maltreatment. Some form of intervention is required in child abuse cases, but any decision to pursue court action should involve multidisciplinary input from child welfare workers, hospital staff, and sexual abuse treatment professionals, since court action may in some cases complicate the child's difficulties and hinder effective treatment of the family. Should court proceedings be deemed necessary, the court should make every effort to tailor proceedings so that the child will be relieved of traumatizing situations. Attorneys involved in child sexual abuse cases can improve the outcome through participation in an interdisciplinary team approach to the entire intervention process. These teams usually follow specific protocols and consider the child's need for safety and a healthy family life when making decisions. Alternatives for court procedures and cooperative case management and family treatment alternatives are described. Appended are discussions of legal processes in sex abuse cases, guidelines for interviews of child victims, a sample of interdisciplinary team protocol, and a flow chart for the child sexual abuse treatment program in San Jose, Calif. A total of 59 footnotes are provided.
Index Term(s): Attorney ad litem; Attorneys; Child Sexual Abuse; Court management; Crisis intervention; Crisis management; Interview and interrogation
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.