Purpose – Previous studies suggest that the presence of medical evidence is rare in child sexual assault (CSA) cases, and if present at all, such evidence is unlikely to identify a specific assailant. This study aims to examine the role medical evidence plays in criminal cases of CSA. Specifically, the prevalence of medical evidence in CSA cases, its impact on decisions to prosecute CSA cases, as well as its effect on conviction rates are examined. Design/methodology/approach – A systematic literature review was conducted on the impact of medical evidence in criminal child sexual abuse (CSA) cases.
Findings – The results of the review suggest medical evidence increases the likelihood of prosecution; however the impact of medical evidence on conviction rate is equivocal.
Research limitations/implications – The implications of these findings for legal and psychological practice, government policy and future areas for academic research are discussed. Originality/value – To the authors' knowledge, no other review has systematically examined the role of medical evidence on the prosecution and conviction of CSA cases.
Field of Research
170104 Forensic Psychology
Socio Economic Objective
970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences