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Sexual Abuse by Paternal Caretakers: A Comparison of Abusers Who Are Biological Fathers in Intact Families, Stepfathers, and Noncustodial Fathers (From Incest Perpetrator: A Family Member No One Wants To Treat, P 65-73, Anne L. Horton, Barry L. Johnson, et al, eds. -- See NCJ-121328)

NCJ Number
K C Faller
Date Published
9 pages
Clinical information from 196 paternal caretakers who had sexually abused children formed the basis of this comparison of abusers who are biological fathers in intact families, stepfathers, and noncustodial fathers.
The study participants had all been referred to the Interdisciplinary Project on Child Abuse and Neglect, based at the University of Michigan. The analysis showed that cases involving biological fathers varied considerably in the factors contributing to sexual abuse. Male dominance in the marital relationship was the most consistent finding. Stepfather cases were more homogeneous, with the stepfather's role confusion a factor, particularly when the stepfather was younger than the mother. In addition, almost one-third of the children had been previously maltreated by their biological fathers. Abuse by noncustodial fathers usually took place during visitation. The lack of rules about household functioning and the circumstances of the marital breakup may also have facilitated sexual abuse. Biological fathers and stepfathers were more likely to target female children, while noncustodial fathers tended to victimize all the children. Findings also showed differences in the mothers and suggested the need for different strategies to protect victims from perpetrators with different role relationships. 13 references.


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