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Child Sexual Abuse & the Criminal Justice System

NCJ Number
C Eastwood; W Patton; H Stacy
Date Published
6 pages
This paper reports on a study that investigated procedures in the criminal justice system that affect female child complainants of child sexual abuse.
Despite some procedural, structural and attitudinal changes in the criminal justice system, and a considerable body of literature which places under scrutiny the manner in which the justice system deals with child sexual abuse, many children who have been sexually abused continue to suffer further unnecessary trauma during the justice process. This added trauma is frequently the result of either ignorance or indifference on the part of the range of legal personnel with whom the child must interact. The criminal justice process itself reiterates many of the emotional and psychological characteristics of the sexual abuse experience. The study gathered qualitative data from 12 adolescent females aged 12 to 17 years in a six-stage, semi-structured interview process. The data provided police, defense counsel, prosecutors, magistrates and judges with in-depth data from the perspective of the sexually abused female child. References