Category Archives: Child Abuse

Child Abuse

Assessing the reliability of child sex abuse allegations: Protocol for the attorney and forensic practitioner

Child sex abuse allegations commonly arise in criminal prosecutions, child protection matters, and divorce/custody disputes. These allegations are high stakes situations for both children and the accused. This outline provides a framework for assessing the reliability of allegations. It is based on a large evidence based review of the literature. Context—what is the family/relationship context […]

Rind controversy redux: Psychological sequelae of adult-child sexual contact.

Forensic psychologists may be called upon to render opinions concerning psychological harm following adult-child sexual contact. Rind et al. (1998) examined assumed properties of CSA and found that psychological harm is variable. They found that family environment was consistently confounded with CSA, and explained considerably more adjustment variance than CSA. CSA-adjustment relations generally became nonsignificant […]

Disclosure, denial, delay, recantation, and confirmation in CSA

Despite several years of high quality research in CSA, courts continue to hear that patterns of disclosure, denial, delay, and recantation are (or are not) dispositive of CSA. In their review of these issues in a recent special issue of Memory, London, Ceci, Wright, and Ceci (2008) draw the following conclusions: “We have argued that, […]

Psychological Experts in CSA Trials

Back in September 2011, I mused about how helpful psychological experts are in CSA trials. Testimony will inevitably have to address developments in several areas, including patterns of disclosure, memory, suggestibility, quality of forensic interviews, and error rates of CSA decision-making, highly technical stuff. The work of Bruck and Ceci has remained authoritative for almost […]

Is the testimony of experts at child sex abuse trials helpful?

The testimony of experts in child sex abuse trials is controversial. There are serious legal constraints on expert testimony concerning credibility of the witness, properly the domain of the trier of fact (see US vs. Brooks, a court martial, where my testimony was rejected by a military court of appeals as crossing the line).  Thus, […]

Assessing Parental Risk in Child Custody Cases Involving Internet Sexual Behavior

Abstract: One type of claim in parenting assessment (child custody)1 cases is that one parent, typically the father, is alleged to be engaging in improper or compulsive sexual behavior via the Internet. The sexual behavior at issue can range from frequent sexually explicit chats with other adults to compulsive viewing of adult pornography. In more […]

17,000 Helens agree — Bad Parents are Bad News

But seriously, check out http://www.cdc.gov/ace/index.htm. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study is one of the largest investigations ever conducted to assess associations between childhood maltreatment and later-life health and well-being. The study is a collaboration between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente’s Health Appraisal Clinic in San Diego. More than 17,000 […]