Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1673036
 


 



Understanding Children’s Medium for Disclosing Sexual Abuse - A Tool for Overcoming Potential Misconceptions in the Courtroom


Rita Shackel


University of Sydney - Faculty of Law

September 7, 2010

Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, Vol. 16, No. 3, pp. 379-393, 2009
Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 10/87

Abstract:     
Complainants in child sexual assault trials are often questioned by the defence about disclosure of the alleged abuse. The defence will often ask the child how they disclosed the alleged sexual abuse, including to whom the initial disclosure was made. Such questions are legitimate and directed towards testing the complainant's allegations. Sometimes, such questions are used to impeach the complainant's credibility. It is not uncommon in such instances for the defence to suggest that certain modes of disclosure are more consistent with having been sexually victimized and that a complainant who has disclosed otherwise is more likely to have fabricated the allegations of abuse. This article reviews the findings of empirical research on whom victims of child sexual abuse most commonly disclose their abuse to and by what means such disclosure is commonly made. This understanding is important to challenge misconceived views about how victims disclose child sexual abuse.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 34

Keywords: child sexual abuse, disclosure, medium of disclosure, misconceptions, recipients of disclosure

JEL Classification: K10, K14, K30

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Date posted: September 8, 2010  

Suggested Citation

Shackel, Rita, Understanding Children’s Medium for Disclosing Sexual Abuse - A Tool for Overcoming Potential Misconceptions in the Courtroom (September 7, 2010). Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, Vol. 16, No. 3, pp. 379-393, 2009; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 10/87. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1673036

Contact Information

Rita Shackel (Contact Author)
University of Sydney - Faculty of Law ( email )
Faculty of Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia
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