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Predictors of Non-offending Caregiver Support in Cases of Child Sexual Abuse

NCJ Number
Child Abuse & Neglect Volume: 149 Issue: 106650 Dated: Mar 2024
Date Published
March 2024

This article describes the research participants and settings, methodology, and outcomes, of a secondary analysis that examined case characteristics which predicted supportive behavior from non-offending caregivers related to victim factors such as age and gender, perpetrator factors, NOC factors, and situational factors.


In cases of child sexual abuse (CSA), a supportive non-offending caregiver (NOC) is important for the child's overall well-being and adjustment. NOC support is also predictive of CSA cases moving forward to prosecution. Limited research has studied CSA case factors in relation to NOC supportive behaviors across numerous support dimensions. The authors investigated what case details predicted four different dimensions of caregiver support. In this secondary analysis, a sample of 500 CSA cases from four prosecutors' offices in one New England state from 2009 to 2013 were randomly selected and reviewed. This study used regression analysis to test 13 case characteristics (e.g., disclosure of abuse, NOC's relationship to perpetrator) as predictors of NOC support dimensions: belief of victim, support of prosecution, protection of victim, and whether a child protective services neglect report was filed against the caregiver. When the perpetrator was their romantic partner, the NOC was less likely to protect and believe the child victim, yet more likely to support prosecution. NOCs were more likely to demonstrate belief when the child disclosed to them first. The authors’ findings reveal the importance of the key case factors that are predictive of NOC support. This is the first study to examine these many case factors in relation to these four dimensions of support. Knowledge of these predictors can play an important role in better understanding the complexity of NOC support predictors and facilitating interventions designed to enhance such support. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: March 1, 2024