Intervention In Child Sexual Abuse

Awareness of the extent of sexual abuse and its effects on functioning have led to positive outcomes. First, the problem of child sexual abuse is being taken seriously. The time has passed when sexual abuse was regarded as a problem of insignificant proportions and an experience that was not very harmful. Second, the fact that there are mechanisms for reporting child maltreatment is illustrative of government and social policy commitment to address the problem of child sexual abuse, and child maltreatment more generally. Third, with reporting statutes has come greater professional and public awareness of child sexual abuse. Professionals are more likely to consider sexual abuse as a possible source of children's symptoms, and children's caretakers and others are more likely to notice symptoms. Moreover, media attention to sexual victimization has made the public more cognizant of the problem and may serve to decrease victims' sense of isolation.

In addition, there have been refinements in how governmental and mental health systems address child sexual abuse. In part, because of controversies about the truth of children's assertions about their sexual abuse, there have come advances in expertise in case investigation and assessment, the development of sexual abuse specific treatment programs, and efforts to prevent sexual abuse before it happens.

Crucial to long-term child well-being is sensitive and well-orchestrated intervention. If professionals can effectively investigate, evaluate, and ameliorate in situations of sexual abuse, children can survive their victimization and lead productive lives. The advances in assessment and treatment of child sexual abuse will be described in this section.

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