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Chapter 2: Definitions and Signs of Child Sexual Maltreatment
Most professionals who work with children receive training in the signs and symptoms of child sexual abuse as part of their postprofessional education. However, child sexual abuse encompasses a wide spectrum of acts, and there is disagreement about both when and whether some sexual acts are abusive. Moreover, some training provided in the 1970s and 1980s about indicators of sexual abuse has been determined to be incorrect, and new findings are constantly emerging. This chapter will address both definitions and signs of sexual abuse.
Three different components of a definition of sexual abuse will be discussed in this section: (a) the types of sexual behavior, (b) the parameters of abusive versus nonabusive ...