The chapters in this book are intended to describe what is known and what is not known in several specific areas of childhood abuse. The opening interview with Roland Summit gives readers an opportunity to get acquainted with a pioneer in the field. An instrumental force in the study of child sexual abuse, Summit has indelibly impacted the work of the remaining authors and the field in general. The interview provides a personal and historical view of the development of the field and identifies problems and issues all professionals should be prepared to deal with.

A beginning chapter looks at the development of child sexual abuse research. Internationally recognized scholars, practitioners, and thinkers who have based their contributions on both research and practice experience emphasize the most critical unknowns in his or her area, reflecting on the subject much as Dr. Summit might have in the early days of finding out the now “knowns.” Chapters focus on sexual offenders, children's memory, adult memory for trauma, children as victims, treatment challenges of traumatized victims, victims in court, and treatment of dissociate identity clients.

Scientific Support for Expert Testimony on Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation

Scientific support for expert testimony on child sexual abuse accommodation

Roland Summit's article on child sexual abuse accommodation (CSAA) (Summit, 1983) describes sexually abused children's secrecy, helplessness, entrapment, delayed disclosure, and retraction. The paper is both admired and maligned. On the one hand, it has been hailed as one of the most influential papers ever written on child abuse (Oates & Donnelly, 1997). On the other hand, testimony on accommodation is often dismissed as “dangerous pseudoscience” by both commentators and the courts (Summit, 1992).

There are two reasons for this difference of opinion. The first is because of a misunderstanding regarding the relevance of accommodation in diagnosing abuse. The fact that a child exhibits sexual abuse accommodation ...

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