Critical Issues in Child Sexual Abuse: Historical, Legal, and Psychological Perspectives


Edited by: Jon R. Conte

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    Roland C. Summit

    Editor's Introduction

    For professionals new to child abuse and especially child sexual abuse, it may seem hard to imagine a time when the problem was not viewed as important, deserving of professional attention, and often the subject of clinical discussions, research reports, or public media accounts. And yet, it was not more than two or three decades ago that child sexual abuse was, in fact, not seen as a significant problem.

    From the very beginning of the modern rediscovery of child sexual abuse, physician Roland C. Summit had an integral role in shaping how professionals and the public came to understand the problem. Rol, as he is known by friends and those who look up to him, had a profound impact on the field. As a teacher, consultant, author, and confidant, Rol could be counted on to speak powerfully and clearly to the concern presented him. Among many positive attributes were his ability to use language to communicate with passion and insight, his strong support for the idea that responding to child sexual abuse required the efforts of many professions, and his willingness to give his time, energy, and wisdom to other professionals, parents of abused children, adult survivors, and those in the public who sought him out. Perhaps the greatest attribute Rol exemplified for us all was the ability and willingness to speak for those who could not themselves speak, the young and most traumatized of victims of child sexual abuse.

    The authors in this volume continue the tradition of Roland Summit and provide stimulating, current, and far-reaching thoughts about child sexual abuse today. Rol is actively enjoying retirement but I know that he is grateful to the authors and he wishes that all of us concerned with child sexual abuse will be stimulated and helped by the ideas that follow.

    JonR.Conte, PhD
  • About the Editor

    Jon R. Conte, PhD, is Professor at the School of Social Work at the University of Washington, where he teaches courses on various aspects of clinical social work, interpersonal violence, and trauma. He is Editor of the Journal of Interpersonal Violence and Trauma, Violence, & Abuse: A Review Journal and is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Child Sexual Abuse and Child Abuse & Neglect: The International Journal. The Founding President of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, Dr. Conte is currently President-elect and a member of the Board of Directors of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children. He has conducted research on the effects of childhood sexual experiences on child and adult survivors and the effects of programs to prevent the sexual victimization of young children. He maintains a private psychotherapy practice in Mercer Island, Washington, working with individual children, teens, and adults and in forensic mental health.

    About the Contributors

    David L. Corwin, MD, serves as Medical Director of Primary Children's Center for Safe and Healthy Families and is Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Utah School of Medicine. Dr. Corwin is a founder of both the American and California Professional Societies on the Abuse of Children (APSAC and CAPSAC). He also currently serves on the Board of the Utah Division of Child and Family Services, the State Advisory Board for the Children's Justice Centers, and chairs the Utah Healthy Start Initiative Core Work Group.

    Susan E. Diedrich, JD, is a staff attorney with the California Department of Social Services in Sacramento, California.

    Kelly Fincher, JD, is a deputy attorney general in the California State Department of Justice, Los Angeles, California.

    Jennifer J. Freyd, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at the University of Oregon. She conducts research on the psychology of trauma using laboratory and survey methodology with college student, clinical, community, and child populations. Her award-winning book Betrayal Trauma: The Logic of Forgetting Childhood Abuse (1996) was released in paperback in February, 1998. She is the co-editor of Trauma & Cognitive Science (2001).

    Richard P. Kluft, MD, practices psychiatry and psychoanalysis in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. He is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Temple University School of Medicine and a member of the faculty of The Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia. He is the author of over 230 scientific papers, book chapters, and reviews. He is the editor of Childhood Antecedents of Multiple Personality, Treating Victims of Sexual Abuse, and Incest-Related Syndromes of Adult Psychopathology, and, with coeditor Catherine G. Fine, Clinical Perspectives on Multiple Personality Disorder. He was the founding editor of the journal, DISSOCIATION. Dr. Kluft has received numerous awards for his work and teaches workshops widely both in the United States and abroad.

    Devon Lee, JD, is a deputy public defender in Madison, Wisconsin.

    Thomas D. Lyon, JD, PhD, is Professor of Law at the University of Southern California. His PhD is in Developmental Psychology, and his research and writing concern child witnesses and child abuse. He has authored or co-authored half a dozen book chapters, and his work has appeared in Child Development, Law & Human Behavior, Cornell Law Review, Southern California Law Review, Pacific Law Journal, Harvard Women's Law Journal, Psychology, Public Policy & Law, Contemporary Psychology, Applied Developmental Science, and Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.

    John E. B. Myers, JD, is Professor of Law at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, California. He has written five books, including Legal Issues in Child Abuse and Neglect Practice, 2nd ed. (1998, Sage), Incest: A Mother's Nightmare: A Practical Legal Guide for Parents and Professionals (1997, Sage), and Evidence in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases, 3rd ed. (1997, Aspen Law & Business). He is the author of 85 articles and chapters on child abuse. On the faculty of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the National Judicial College, John has made more than 200 presentations in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

    Erna Olafson, PhD, PsyD, is Director of the Program on Child Abuse Forensic and Treatment Training at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and Director of the Childhood Trust Forensic Training Institute for the investigative interviewing of children. She is Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Pediatrics in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Cincinnati School of Medicine. As historian Erna Olafson Hellerstein, she co-authored Victorian women (Stanford Press, 1981). In collaboration with Roland Summit and David L. Corwin, Dr. Olafson wrote a 1993 history of child sexual abuse awareness that was published in Child Abuse and Neglect. She is treasurer of the Board of Directors of the Ohio Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (OHPSAC) and serves on the Ohio Attorney General's Expert Witness List. In collaboration with the Columbus, Ohio Institute for Human Services, Dr. Olafson recently completed two training curricula for the Pennsylvania Child Welfare Competency-Based Training and Certification Program, Children's Memory and Suggestibility and Preparing the Child Witness in Sexual Abuse Cases.

    Rachel M. Stern, JD, is an attorney in private practice in Tahoe City, California.

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