Seeking Justice in Child Sexual Abuse

Shifting Burdens and Sharing Responsibilities

By Karen M. Staller (Editor); Kathleen Coulborn Faller (Editor)
(Columbia University Press, Hardcover, 9780231146142, 357pp.)

Publication Date: November 2009

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St. Mary County is a small, rural midwestern enclave with a unique approach to handling accusations of child sexual abuse. Hoping to spare children the trauma of lengthy court appearances and probing interrogations, professionals do their best to obtain confessions from accused sex offenders themselves instead of placing the burden of proof on the victim.

Through one fascinating case study, scholars from different fields come together to launch an integrated, in-depth analysis of this community's unique approach. They discuss relevant case law, innovative treatments in regards to both the victim and the offender, and the social history of child sexual abuse as a national policy concern. Contributors cover legal burdens and scientific methods, prosecutors and protocol, the interrogation of victims and suspects, professional practice wisdom in videotaping, defense strategies and expert witnesses, and the role of the child advocate. The result is a fascinating dialogue that explores methods in addressing child sexual abuse and illuminates issues of justice, trauma, and fairness. Taken together, this interdisciplinary text provides a useful model for evaluating child sexual abuse in communities across the country.

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