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Delay in Disclosure of Non-parental Child Sexual Abuse in the Context of Emotional and Physical Maltreatment: A Pilot Study

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2016
11 pages
The objective of this pilot study was to identify predictors of delays in child sexual abuse (CSA) disclosure, specifically whether emotional and physical abuse by a parental figure contributes to predicting delays over and above other important victim factors.
Regression analyses indicated that experiencing both emotional and physical abuse by a parental figure was uniquely predictive of longer delays in disclosure of CSA perpetrated by someone other than a parental figure. Victim–CSA perpetrator relationship type and sexual abuse duration also significantly predicted CSA disclosure delay; whereas victim age at the time of the police report, victim gender, and victims’ feelings of complicity were not significant unique predictors. Child abuse victims’ expectations of lack of parental support may underlie these findings. Parent–child relationships are likely crucial to timely disclosure of CSA, even when a parent is not the CSA perpetrator. For this study, alleged CSA victims (N = 79) whose parental figures were not the purported sexual abuse perpetrators were interviewed, and their case files were reviewed across two waves of a longitudinal study. 2 tables (Publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2016