Seeking Justice in Child Sexual Abuse: Shifting Burdens and Sharing Responsibilities (Hardcover)

Shifting Burdens and Sharing Responsibilities

By Karen Staller (Editor), Kathleen Coulborn Faller (Editor)

Columbia University Press, 9780231146142, 357pp.

Publication Date: November 1, 2009



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, St. Mary's professionals strive to obtain confessions from accused sex offenders rather than ask the victim to bear the burden of proof.

Treating this county as a critical case study, scholars from a variety of fields come together to analyze this community's unique approach. They address relevant case law, innovative treatments for both victim and offender, and the social history of child sexual abuse as a national policy concern. They cover legal burdens and scientific methods, prosecutors and protocol, the interrogation of victims and suspects, the use of expert witnesses, defense strategies, and practice wisdom in videotaping. In addition, they examine the unfolding drama of a single legal case from incidence to conviction.

The result is a fascinating dialogue that confronts the unique complexities of child sexual abuse for readers on all sides of the issue. Introducing a model that makes enormous headway in the pursuit of justice, fairness, and trauma treatment, this interdisciplinary text is an indispensible tool for all communities seeking redress.

About the Author

Karen M. Staller, Ph.D., J.D., is associate professor of social work at the University of Michigan School of Social Work and the author of Runaways: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped Today's Practices and Policies. She has practiced public interest law with low-income senior citizens and at-risk adolescents in New York City.Kathleen Coulborn Faller, Ph.D., A.C.S.W., D.C.S.W., is the Marion Elizabeth Blue Professor of Children and Families in the School of Social Work at the University of Michigan. She is also director of the University of Michigan's Family Assessment Clinic and principal investigator on their Training Program on Recruitment and Retention of Child Welfare Workers, as well as principal investigator of their Hasbro Early Assessment Project. Among her many publications are Maltreatment in Early Childhood: Tools for Research-Based Intervention, Interviewing Children about Sexual Abuse, and Child Sexual Abuse: An Interdisciplinary Manual for Diagnosis, Case Management, and Treatment.