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Child Sexual Abuse Is a Widespread Problem (From Child Sexual Abuse, P 15-18, 1998, Bruno Leone, Brenda Stalcup, et al, eds. - See NCJ-171702)

NCJ Number
A Vachss
Date Published
4 pages
The revelation in recent decades that child sexual abuse is a widespread phenomenon has prompted a backlash led by people who maintain they have been wrongly accused of this heinous crime; despite the possibility of false accusations and inconvenience to families, however, a thorough investigation should be conducted whenever an allegation of child sexual abuse is made.
Media coverage of child sexual abuse tends to swing like a pendulum from one extreme to the other, and the media spotlight has recently focused on defendants who maintain they have been falsely accused of sexually abusing children. Child sexual abuse cases are different than many other criminal cases, in part because the stakes are much higher. If an adult is the victim of a crime, even if the defendant is acquitted, the adult is "free" as the perpetrator. In a child sexual abuse case, the consequences of an improper acquittal are often that the victim is returned to the abuser. The facts of each child sexual abuse case must be examined in order to discover the truth and to adequately protect children. The author notes many more cases of child sexual abuse are never reported than are ever tried, concludes more resources must be devoted to protecting children from sexual abuse, and offers suggestions on investigative interviewing to minimize trauma to children.