Removing the child-Prosecuting the offender in cases of sexual abuse: Evidence from the national reporting system for child abuse and neglect


Sexual abuse has come to public attention so rapidly and is such a difficult problem to deal with that many observers are concerned that the quality of child protective intervention in these cases has been haphazard and indiscriminate. This article analyzes data on all 6,096 cases of child sexual abuse which were "officially reported" in 1978 to see what kinds of intervention were made. The data show that foster placement occurred in more cases of sexual abuse than physical abuse, and was concentrated among cases of older children who reported their own victimization. Criminal action was taken almost five times more often in cases of sexual abuse than in cases of physical abuse, and occurred more often among cases which were directly reported to police and involved offenders with prior criminal records. Black families and poorer families did not seem to be the objects of obvious discrimination in the disposition of these cases. © 1983.

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Child Abuse & Neglect



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