Professional issues related to allegations and assessment of child sexual abuse in the context of family court litigation

Neoh, Jennifer and Mellor, David 2009, Professional issues related to allegations and assessment of child sexual abuse in the context of family court litigation, Psychiatry, psychology and law, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 303-321.

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Title Professional issues related to allegations and assessment of child sexual abuse in the context of family court litigation
Author(s) Neoh, Jennifer
Mellor, David
Journal name Psychiatry, psychology and law
Volume number 16
Issue number 2
Start page 303
End page 321
Publisher Australian Academic Press Pty. Ltd.
Place of publication Melbourne, Vic.
Publication date 2009-07
ISSN 1321-8719
1934-1687
Keyword(s) access
assessment
family court
residence
sexual abuse
Summary This article focuses on the challenge of dealing with allegations of child sexual abuse in the context of the Family Court of Australia. Of all cases that come before the Court, those involving such allegations are relatively uncommon. they tend to be the most difficult cases, however, and are more likely to require a trial and the involvement of qualified practitioners. The review establishes that parental separation is a special circumstance in which sexual abuse may be more likely to occur, and many allegations of sexual abuse are found to be true. There is evidence, however, that a proportion of allegations made by people other than the child concerned may be false. Whether these false allegations are well intentioned and genuinely believed, or maliciously motivated has been a contentious issue. Issues considered include the mishandling of cases, the failure by professionals to consider equally plausible alternative hypotheses than the sexual abuse of a child, confirmation bias, and the profound repercussions of allegations for all members of the family. It is concluded that all allegations of child sexual abuse must be evaluated in a thorough and sensitive manner to separate the few false allegations from the many that are true.
Language eng
Field of Research 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
Socio Economic Objective 920410 Mental Health
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
HERDC collection year 2009
Copyright notice ©2009, The Australian and New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30019697

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Psychology
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Created: Fri, 18 Sep 2009, 15:24:58 EST by Sally Morrigan

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