False allegation of child sexual abuse


False allegation of child sexual abuse

A false allegation of child sexual abuse is an accusation by a child or young adolescent that a person committed one or more acts of child sexual abuse when in reality there was no perpetration of abuse by the accused person as alleged. Studies of child abuse allegations suggest that the overall rate of false accusation is low, less than 10% as approximated based on multiple studies. cite book|title=Child Abuse and Neglect: A Clinician's Handbook |last= Hobbs |first=Christopher James |coauthors=Helga G. I. Hanks, Jane M. Wynne |publisher=Elsevier Health Sciences |year=1999 |pages=p197 |isbn= 0443058962] cite book|title=Child Sexual Abuse: A Handbook for Health Care and Legal Professionals |last= Schetky |first=Diane H. |coauthors= Arthur H. Green |publisher=Psychology Press |year=1988 |pages=p105 |isbn= 0876304951] cite book|title=Child Sexual Abuse: Its Scope and Our Failure |last= Bolen |first=Rebecca Morris |publisher=Springer |year= 2001 |pages=p109 |isbn= 0306465760] cite book|title=Complex Issues in Child Custody Evaluations |last= Stahl |first=Philip Michael |publisher=Sage Publications Inc |year= 1999 |pages=p45 |isbn= 0761919090] Of the allegations determined to be false, only a small portion originated with the child, the studies showed; most false allegations originated with an adult bringing the accusations on behalf of a child, and of those, a large majority occurred in the context of divorce and child-custody battles. cite book|title=True and False Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse: Assessment and Case Management |last=Ney |first=Tara |publisher=Psychology Press |year=1995 |pages=p23, p29-33 |isbn= 0876307586] cite book|title=Assessing Child Maltreatment Reports: The Problem of False Allegations |last= Robin |first=Michael |publisher=Haworth Press |year= 1991 |pages=p21-24 |isbn= 0866569316]

Types of false allegations

When there is insufficient supporting evidence to determine whether an accusation is true or false, it is described as "unsubstantiated" or "unfounded". Accusations that are determined to be false based on corroborating evidence are divided into three categories:
* An allegation that is completely false in that the events that were alleged did not occur;
* An allegation that describes events that did occur, but were perpetrated by an individual who is not accused, and in which the accused person is innocent. When a child makes this type of allegation it is termed "perpetrator substitution";
* An allegation that is partially true and partially false, in that it mixes descriptions of events that actually happened with other events that did not occur.cite book|title=True and False Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse: Assessment and Case Management |last=Ney |first=Tara |publisher=Psychology Press |year=1995 |pages=p23 |isbn= 0876307586]

A false allegation can occur as the result of intentional lying on the part of the accuser; Mikkelsen, M.D., Gutheil, M.D. & Emens, B.A (1992). "False sexual-abuse allegations by children and adolescents: Contextual factors and clinical subtypes," American Journal of Psychotherapy, October. Page 569] or unintentionally, due to a confabulation, either arising spontaneously due to mental illness or resulting from suggestive questioning, including "both intentional and unintentional coaching, misinterpretation of events, poor interviewing techniques".Bruck, M. & Ceci, S. J. (1999). Jeopardy in the Courtroom: A Scientific Analysis of Children's Testimony Published by the American Psychological Association.] Researchers Poole and Lindsay suggested in 1997 applying separate labels to the two concepts, proposing the term "false allegations" be used specifically when the accuser is aware they are lying, and "false suspicions" for the wider range of false accusations in which suggestive questioning may have been involved.

Prevalence

Of the millions of reports of child sexual abuse each year to state protective agencies in the USA (including both subtantiated and unsubstantiated reports), there is no formal determination as to what portion of those represent false allegations. Findings of multiple studies performed between 1987 and 1995 suggested that the rate of false allegations ranged from a low of 6% to a high of 35% of reported child sexual abuse cases.cite book |title=Handbook of Psychology |author=Irving B Weiner |coauthors=Donald K. Freedheim |year= 2003 |pages= p 438 | publisher=John Wiley and Sons |isbn= 0471176699] Experts have argued that the reason for the wide range of differences in the rates resulted from different criteria used in various studies. In particular, a lower rate was found in studies that considered false allegations to be based on intentional lying, whereas the higher rates were reported in studies that also added unintentional false allegations resulting from suggestive questioning. Mikkelson et al. (1992) stated that false allegations are "statistically uncommon," occurring in 2 to 10% of cases. In a compilation meta-study, “Studies on the truthfulness of sexual abuse reports among children and adolescents as judged by evaluators” found that out of a total 2169 children and adolescents whose reports were evaluated, the reports of "98% (generally younger children) to 93% (usually older children) were determined to be true." [Citation | last = Whitfield M.D. | first = Charles L. | title = Memory and Abuse - Remembering and Healing the Effects of Trauma | place= Deerfield Beach, FL | publisher = Health Communications, Inc | pages = p 302| isbn = 1-55874-320-0]

In one paper, it was found that the frequency of false allegations as reported by emergency room staff was six percent; the authors described their conclusion that false allegations are rare.cite journal |last= Goodwin |first= S. |coauthors= Shad, D.; Rada, R. | year= 1978 | title= Incest hoax: False accusations, false denials. |journal= Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law |volume= 6 |pages= 269–276] The same paper noted a that false retractions in cases where abuse actually occurred are common, a finding that has been confirmed by other studies.cite book|title=Child Sexual Abuse: An Interdisciplinary Manual for Diagnosis, Case Management and Treatment |last= Faller |first=Kathleen C. |publisher=Columbia University Press |year=1989 |pages=p130-131|isbn= 0231064713] False retractions of accusations by children who have been abused occur for one or more of several reasons: out of shame or embarrassment, fear of being sent to a foster home, due to the reaction of adults leading them to feel their behavior was "wrong" or "bad", a desire to protect the perptrator who may be a close family member, fear of destroying the family, coaching by an adult family member insisting the child withdraw the accusation, and more. cite book|title=Child Sexual Abuse: A Handbook for Health Care and Legal Professionals |last= Schetky |first=Diane H. |coauthors= Arthur H. Green |publisher=Psychology Press |year=1988 |pages=p66 |isbn= 0876304951] False retractions are less common when the child receives timely and appropriate support following the statement of the allegation. Other workers have shown false allegation of incest allegations to be as low as eight percent. [cite journal |last= Jones |first= D. |coauthors= McGraw, J. |year= 1987 |title= Reliable and Fictitious Accounts of Sexual Abuse to Children |journal= Journal of Interpersonal Violence |volume= 2 |issue= 1 |pages= 27–45 |url= http://jiv.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/2/1/27 |accessdate= 2008-01-01 |quote=...all the reports (N = 576) of child sexual abuse made to the Denver Department of Social Services were categorized. Most reports were reliable accounts (70%), but a small proportion appeared to be fictitious (8%). |doi= 10.1177/088626087002001002] In a 1989 Everson and Boat study, which looked at child sexual abuse allegations in child protection offices in the USA, found that among pre-school children, the rate of false allegations (determined by social workers) was found to be between 1.7 to 2.7 percent.cite journal |last= Everson |first= M. |coauthors= Boat, B. |year= 1989 |month= March |title= False Allegations of Sexual Abuse by Children and Adolescents. |journal= Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry |volume= 28 |issue= 2 |pages= 230–235 |url= http://jaacap.com/pt/re/jaacap/abstract.00004583-198903000-00014.htm;jsessionid=H6TMfLLLBD6YF2CQJv4GVqqrhRxrnj9W8WF1TGhtFsfrBsyp6pNw!1390229169!181195629!8091!-1 |accessdate= 2008-01-01 |quote= The frequency of false allegations of sexual abuse by children and adolescents is of significant legal and clinical importance. The rate of false allegations of sexual abuse is examined in a large sample of Child Protective Services (CPS) cases. |doi= 10.1097/00004583-198903000-00014] Among adolescents, the rate was found to be between 8 to 12 percent.cite journal |last= Everson |first= M. |coauthors= Boat, B. |year= 1989 |month= March |title= False Allegations of Sexual Abuse by Children and Adolescents. |journal= Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry |volume= 28 |issue= 2 |pages= 230–235 |url= http://jaacap.com/pt/re/jaacap/abstract.00004583-198903000-00014.htm;jsessionid=H6TMfLLLBD6YF2CQJv4GVqqrhRxrnj9W8WF1TGhtFsfrBsyp6pNw!1390229169!181195629!8091!-1 |accessdate= 2008-01-01 |quote= The frequency of false allegations of sexual abuse by children and adolescents is of significant legal and clinical importance. The rate of false allegations of sexual abuse is examined in a large sample of Child Protective Services (CPS) cases. |doi= 10.1097/00004583-198903000-00014] The overall average rate was found to be 5 to 8 percent. cite journal |last= Everson |first= M. |coauthors= Boat, B. |year= 1989 |month= March |title= False Allegations of Sexual Abuse by Children and Adolescents. |journal= Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry |volume= 28 |issue= 2 |pages= 230–235 |url= http://jaacap.com/pt/re/jaacap/abstract.00004583-198903000-00014.htm;jsessionid=H6TMfLLLBD6YF2CQJv4GVqqrhRxrnj9W8WF1TGhtFsfrBsyp6pNw!1390229169!181195629!8091!-1 |accessdate= 2008-01-01 |quote= The frequency of false allegations of sexual abuse by children and adolescents is of significant legal and clinical importance. The rate of false allegations of sexual abuse is examined in a large sample of Child Protective Services (CPS) cases. |doi= 10.1097/00004583-198903000-00014] Higher rates of false allegations are found in custody disputes. [cite journal |last= Benedek |first= E. |coauthors= Schetsky, D. |year= 1987 |title= Problems in validating allegations of sexual abuse: I. Factors affecting perception and recall of events. |journal= Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, |volume= 29 |pages= 912–920] [cite journal |last= Green |first= A. |year= 1986 |title= True and false allegations of sexual abuse in child custody disputes. |journal= Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry |volume= 25 |issue= 4 |pages= 449.456 |url= http://www.jaacap.com/pt/re/jaacap/abstract.00004484-198607000-00001.htm;jsessionid=H6TJppgJRV197GQ7JBcDz0TMT2Psvr2b1Cb6VTk6fp90zMQ3Tgpt!901085598!181195628!8091!-1 |accessdate= 2008-01-01 |quote= This paper describes a method of evaluating children referred for suspected sexual molestation based upon our current knowledge of the symptoms and sequelae associated with child sexual abuse. This evaluation is specifically designed to differentiate between "true" and "false" cases of sexual abuse.] [cite journal |last= Green |first= A. |year= 1991 |month= |title= Factors Contributing to False Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse in Custody Disputes |journal= Child Youth Services |volume= 15 |pages= 177–89|doi= 10.1300/J024v15n02_11] Children appear to rarely make up false allegations of their own accord. [cite journal |last= Green |first= A. |year= 1986 |title= True and false allegations of sexual abuse in child custody disputes. |journal= Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry |volume= 25 |issue= 4 |pages= 449.456 |url= http://www.jaacap.com/pt/re/jaacap/abstract.00004484-198607000-00001.htm;jsessionid=H6TJppgJRV197GQ7JBcDz0TMT2Psvr2b1Cb6VTk6fp90zMQ3Tgpt!901085598!181195628!8091!-1 |accessdate= 2008-01-01 |quote= This paper describes a method of evaluating children referred for suspected sexual molestation based upon our current knowledge of the symptoms and sequelae associated with child sexual abuse. This evaluation is specifically designed to differentiate between "true" and "false" cases of sexual abuse.] [cite journal |last= Green |first= A. |year= 1991 |month= |title= Factors Contributing to False Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse in Custody Disputes |journal= Child Youth Services |volume= 15 |pages= 177–89|doi= 10.1300/J024v15n02_11] [cite journal |last= Faller |first= K. |year= 1984 |month= |title= "Is the Child Victim of Sexual Abuse Telling the Truth?" |journal= Child Abuse and Neglect |volume= 8 |issue= 4 |pages=473–81 |url=http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?db=pubmed&uid=6542819&cmd=showdetailview&indexed=google |accessdate= 2008-01-01 |quote=Children almost never make up stories about being sexually abused. In fact victims are often revictimized in multiple ways for truthfully asserting they have been sexually abused. Perpetrators usually deny their abusive behavior. Mothers may also have reasons for not acknowledging the sexual abuse.|doi= 10.1016/0145-2134(84)90029-2] It is suggested that parents have consistently underestimated the seriousness of children's distress when compared to accounts of their own children. [cite journal |last=McFarlane |first= A. |coauthors=Policansky S., Irwin C. |year= 1987 |title= A Longitudinal Study of the Psychological Morbidity in Children Due to a Natural Disaster |journal= Psychological Medicine |volume= 17 |issue= 3 |pages=727–738 |url= http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3628633 |accessdate=2008-01-01 |quote=This longitudinal study examined the psychological impact of a bushfire disaster on a group of 808 children aged from 5 to 12. ] [cite journal |last= Yule |first=W. |coauthors= Williams, R. |year=1990 |title=Post-traumatic stress reactions. in children. |journal= Journal of Traumatic Stress |volume=3 |pages=279–295] Adults that were abused as children may be reluctant to disclose their abuse if they are attached to their offender. [cite book | last = Bowlby | first = J. | title = Child Care and the Growth of Love | publisher =Harmondsworth, Penguin | date =1953 | location =UK | pages =496 | url = http://www.amazon.com/Child-Care-Growth-Penguin-Psychology/dp/0140138390 | isbn =978-0140138399]

Denial and false allegations

Denial of child sexual abuse by the accused, or by others, is common and its reality is not easily accepted. [cite journal |last= Summit |first= R.C. |year= 1998 |title= 'Hidden victims, hidden pain, societal avoidance of child sexual abuse', in Wyatt, GE and Powell, GJ (eds) Lasting Effects of Child Sexual Abuse ] [cite journal |last= Bentovim |first= A |year= 1993 |month= July 17 |title= Why do adults sexually abuse children? |journal= British Medical Journal |volume= 307 |issue= 6897 |pages= 144–145 |url= http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/picrender.fcgi?artid=1678329&blobtype=pdf |accessdate= 2007-12-31 |quote= Why do adults sexually abuse children? Men and society are mostly to blame, but apportioning guilt is difficult Of the 3800 children newly registered on child protection registers as having been sexually abused in England and Wales in the year to 31 March 1992,' probably about a third will have been abused by young people-mostly boys-and two thirds will have been abused by adults - 95% by men and 5% by women. Most will have been abused within the family or by a trusted adult....Often sexual interest in children may be extremely strongly denied and alcohol, drugs, or illness may lead to the breaching of previously maintained barriers.] [ cite journal |last= Jackson |first= H. |coauthors= Nuttall, R. |year= 1993 |month= Jan-Feb |title= Clinician Responses to Sexual Abuse Allegations. |journal= Child Abuse and Neglect: The International Journal |volume= 17 |issue= 1 |pages= 127–143 |url= http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/custom/portlets/recordDetails/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=EJ461198&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=EJ461198 |accessdate= 2007-12-31 |quote= A survey of 656 social workers, pediatricians, psychiatrists, and psychologists rated the credibility of vignettes alleging child sexual abuse. |doi= 10.1016/0145-2134(93)90013-U] Questioning the validity of allegations made by children is the most common form of denial.Citation | last1 = Adshead | first1 = Gwen | contribution = Looking for clues - A review of the literature on false allegations of sexual abuse in childhood | pages = 57 –65 | year = 1994 in cite book |last= Sinason |first= Valerie |title= Treating Survivors of Satanist Abuse|year= 1994 |publisher= Routledge |location= New York |isbn= 0-415-10542-0] Child sexual abuse has a difficult burden of proof in criminal courts. Since it is well known that many 'true' victims of child sexual abuse don't tell anyone about their experiences, and it is possible that 'true' allegations may be under-reported, [cite book | last = Finklehor | first = D. | coauthors = Araji, S. | title = A Sourcebook on Child Sexual Abuse | publisher = Sage Publications, Inc. | date = 1986 | pages = 280 | url = http://books.google.com/books?id=dqxpyL10fOoC&dq=a+source+book+on+child+sexual+abuse&pg=PP1&ots=qg2V4H9phD&sig=F7nMlkQgmdj_iG0esPBrKEQfICI&hl=en&prev=http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=A+source+book+on+child+sexual+abuse&btnG=Google+Search&sa=X&oi=print&ct=title&cad=one-book-with-thumbnail |isbn = 0803919352] [cite journal |last= Kendall-Tacket |first= K. |coauthors= Meyer Williams, L. and Finklehor, D. |year= 1993 |title= Impact of child sexual abuse: a review | journal= Psychological Bulletin |volume= 113 |pages= 164–180 |doi= 10.1037/0033-2909.113.1.164] it is possible that false allegations may also be over-represented, "because estimates of the total number of allegations that could be made will be inaccurate." One study found that among a group of children who were identified as having been sexually abused based on a physical complaint that was later diagnosed a veneral disease, only 43% of the children made a verbal disclosure of sexual abuse. [Lawson, L., & Chaffin, M. (1992). False negative in child sexual bause disclosure interviews. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 7(4), 532-542.] The denial of offenses is strong among men that commit sexual offenses and many continue to deny their offenses even after conviction. [cite book | last = Scully | first = D. | title = Understanding Sexual Violence: A Study of Convicted Rapists | publisher =Routledge | date = 1990 | pages = 205 | url =http://books.google.com/books?id=qObabPbmEgIC&dq=understanding+sexual+violence+a+study+of+convicted+rapists&pg=PP1&ots=vfZ1oNjbfN&sig=FpWFC4i1chjL88h9vLP4JaHtQW0&hl=en&prev=http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=Understanding+Sexual+Violence:+A+Study+of+Convicted+Rapists&btnG=Search&sa=X&oi=print&ct=title&cad=one-book-with-thumbnail | isbn =0415911087 |quote=And that is the purpose of this book: to understand sexual violence from the perspective of men who rape]

ee also

*Cleveland child abuse scandal
*Covert incest
*Day care sex abuse hysteria
*False complaint
*Incest
* McMartin preschool trial
*Satanic ritual abuse

References

External links

*


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