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date: 22 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Child sexual abuse is a significant moral, legal, and social problem. Approximately 5 to 8 per cent of adult men and 15 to 20 per cent of adult women in the United States experienced sexual abuse during childhood or adolescence. This essay provides an overview of major issues and debates concerning child sexual abuse, focusing primarily on the United States. It covers the prevalence of child sexual abuse, its effects on victims, why some individuals are more resilient than others, when and how victims of CSA disclose their abuse, the phenomenon of recantation and what it says about the credibility of abused children, how the judicial system deals with child sexual abuse, and how child sexual abuse can be prevented. The essay concludes by reflecting on the important relationship between scholarship and policy in the field of child sexual abuse research.

Keywords: child sexual abuse, prevalence, recantation, research, United States

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