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Familial Influences on Recantation in Substantiated Child Sexual Abuse Cases

7 Pages Posted: 2 May 2016 Last revised: 2 Aug 2016

Lindsay C. Malloy

Florida International University (FIU)

Allison P. Mugno

Florida International University (FIU)

Jillian R. Rivard

Barry University

Thomas D. Lyon

University of Southern California - Gould School of Law; University of Southern California - Department of Psychology

Jodi Quas

University of California, Irvine - Department of Criminology, Law and Society

Date Written: August 1, 2016

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Malloy, Lindsay C. and Mugno, Allison P. and Rivard, Jillian R. and Lyon, Thomas D. and Quas, Jodi, Familial Influences on Recantation in Substantiated Child Sexual Abuse Cases (August 1, 2016). 21 Child Maltreatment 256 (2016); USC Law Legal Studies Paper No. 16-17; USC CLASS Research Paper No. CLASS16-15. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2773711

Lindsay Malloy

Florida International University (FIU) ( email )

University Park
11200 SW 8th Street
Miami, FL 33199
United States

Allison Mugno

Florida International University (FIU) ( email )

University Park
11200 SW 8th Street
Miami, FL 33199
United States

Jillian Rivard

Barry University ( email )

Miami Shores, FL 33161
United States

Thomas Lyon (Contact Author)

University of Southern California - Gould School of Law ( email )

699 Exposition Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States
213-740-0142 (Phone)
213-740-5502 (Fax)

University of Southern California - Department of Psychology ( email )

Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

Jodi Quas

University of California, Irvine - Department of Criminology, Law and Society ( email )

2340 Social Ecology 2, RM
Irvine, CA 92697

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