Patterns of disclosure in child sexual abuse

Collings, Steven J.; Griffiths, Sacha; Kumalo, Mandisa
June 2005
South African Journal of Psychology;Jun2005, Vol. 35 Issue 2, p270
Academic Journal
This study examined patterns of disclosure in a sample of 1 737 cases of child sexual abuse (1 614 girls and 123 boys) reported in the North Durban policing area of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, during the period January 2001 to December 2003. A content analysis of disclosure patterns identified two broad dimensions of disclosure (Agency: child-initiated disclosure versus detection by a third party, and Temporal duration: an event versus a process); with these disclosure dimensions defining four discrete categories of disclosure: purposeful disclosure (30% of cases), indirect disclosure (9% of cases), eyewitness detection (18% of cases), and accidental detection (43% of cases). A multinomial logistic regression analysis revealed that disclosure patterns were independently predicted by the victim's age, the nature of the victim-perpetrator relationship, the offender's age, the frequency of abuse, and reporting latency. The implications of the findings for primary prevention, forensic interviewing practice, and future research are discussed in detail.


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