U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Dimensions of Child Sexual Abuse Allegations: What is Unusual and What is Not?

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice Volume: 13 Issue: 5 Dated: October-December 2013 Pages: 456-475
William O'Donohue, Ph.D.; Lorraine T. Benuto, Ph.D.; Rachel N. Fondren, M.S.; Lauren Tolle, Ph.D.; Aditi Vijay, Ph.D.; Matthew Fanetti, Ph.D.
Date Published
November 2013
20 pages
This study examined 97 substantiated cases of child sexual abuse.
Summit claimed via his child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome (CSAAS) that children often (a) recant; (b) make disclosures that are unconvincing (i.e., "illogical" and "incredible"); (c) make contradictory claims; and (d) make delayed claims. In this study, 97 substantiated cases of child sexual abuse were examined for both the key properties outlined by Summit and also for other key properties that have been discussed by experts. Results indicate that some of the key properties of CSASS (recantation and contradictions) are rare in substantiated cases. While delayed claims were common, the delays in this sample were generally shorter than proposed in CSAAS. Results also revealed that allegations rarely contained logistical implausibilities, impoverished details, a stake factor, strange elements in the context of the outcry, fantastical details, or reports of repressed memories. Abstract published by arrangement with Taylor and Francis.