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Child Sexual Abuse Allegations Amidst Divorce and Custody Proceedings: Refining the Validation Process

NCJ Number
Journal of Child Sexual Abuse Volume: 1 Issue: 1 Dated: (1991) Pages: 55-70
J M McGraw; H A Smith
Date Published
16 pages
Eighteen cases of child sexual abuse allegations, which evolved around divorce and custody disputes, were investigated by Colorado's Boulder County Sexual Abuse Team to determine the varieties of situations included in the categories of founded and unfounded, the frequency of fictitious child sexual abuse accounts, and the clinical implications for workers involved in such cases.
After applying the clinical process of validation used at the Kempe Center in Denver, the cases were subject to further review and categorized as follows: reliable accounts, recantations, unsubstantiated suspicions, insufficient information, fictitious reports by adults, and fictitious reports by children. The number of cases categorized as founded increased to 44.4 percent from 5.6 percent after applying this clinical process of validation by clinicians. Application of the validation process resulted in categorizing 16.5 percent of the cases in which child sexual abuse allegations arose within the context of a custody dispute as fictitious. Eleven percent of the cases lacked sufficient information to make a determination, and 28 percent were categorized as unsubstantiated suspicions. 1 note and 18 references