Familial Influences on Recantation in Substantiated Child Sexual Abuse Cases
21 Child Maltreatment 256 (2016)
7 Pages Posted: 2 May 2016 Last revised: 2 Aug 2016
Date Written: August 1, 2016
The underlying reasons for recantation in children’s disclosure of child sexual abuse (CSA) have been debated in recent years. In the present study, we examined the largest sample of substantiated CSA cases involving recantations to date (n = 58 cases). We specifically matched those cases to 58 non-recanters on key variables found to predict recantation in prior research (i.e., child age, alleged parent figure perpetrator, caregiver unsupportiveness). Bivariate analyses revealed that children were less likely to recant when they were (1) initially removed from home post-disclosure, and (2) initially separated from siblings post-disclosure. Multivariate analyses revealed that children were less likely to recant when family members (other than the non-offending caregiver) expressed belief in the children’s allegations, and more likely to recant when family members (other than the non-offending caregiver) expressed disbelief in the allegations and when visitations with the alleged perpetrator were recommended at their first hearing. Results have implications for understanding the complex ways in which social processes may motivate some children to retract previous reports of sexual abuse.
Keywords: child sexual abuse, recantation, disclosure
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