Identifying the characteristics of child sexual abuse cases associated with the child or child's parents withdrawing the complaint.

Abstract

Most child sexual abuse cases do not result in a full trial or guilty plea; rather, case attrition occurs at earlier stages of the criminal justice system. One reason for the attrition of these cases is the withdrawal of complaints, by children or their caregivers. The aim of the current study was to determine the case characteristics associated with complaint withdrawal in child sexual abuse cases by the child or his or her parents once a report has been made to authorities. All child sexual abuse incidents reported to authorities in one jurisdiction of Australia in 2011 were analyzed (N=659). A multinomial logistic regression was used to predict the following case outcomes: (1) withdrawn by the child or his or her parents, (2) exited for other reasons (e.g., the alleged offender was not identified, the child refused to be interviewed), and (3) resulted in a charge. Five predictors significantly added to the prediction of case outcome: child age, suspect gender, suspect age, child-suspect relationship, and abuse frequency. These results should contribute to the design of interventions in order to reduce complaint withdrawals if these withdrawals are not in the child's best interests.

DOI: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2016.05.004

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Cite this paper

@article{Christensen2016IdentifyingTC, title={Identifying the characteristics of child sexual abuse cases associated with the child or child's parents withdrawing the complaint.}, author={Larissa S Christensen and Stefanie J. Sharman and Martine B. Powell}, journal={Child abuse & neglect}, year={2016}, volume={57}, pages={53-60} }