The Impact of New Child Witness Research on Sexual Abuse Prosecutions
From 1975 to 1985, sexual abuse of children, once believed rare, became nationally recognized as a serious and significant social problem. Reports of all forms of child abuse and neglect also skyrocketed during this period. In 1976, 669,000 reports of child maltreatment were made to reporting agencies, and 1.9 million similar reports were made in 1985.1 Although there also has been a significant rise in unsubstantiated reports during this time, most experts agree that child abuse remains significantly under-reported.2 For example, although sexual abuse reports rose to 200,000 in 1985, it is believed that this figure still represents a small portion of the actual number of incidents of child sexual abuse. Based on retrospective surveys of adult women, researchers estimate that 12 to 38 percent of women in some way have been sexually molested as children.3
KeywordsCali Weinstein Marin Corwin
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