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  • Publication
    Profiles of cases referred for CSA assessment
    (Edwin Mellen Press, 2004) ; ;
    The present study aimed to build on the findings of other Irish studies by profiling a cohort of cases in which CSA had occurred or where there was a high probability that it had occurred on a wider range of variables than used in previous studies. Of particular interest was the status of the cohort on variables in the following domains: circumstances of referral, demographic characteristics, family adversity, characteristics of abusive experiences, perpetrator characteristics, strategies to achieve compliance and factors hindering disclosure, emotional and behavioural problems before and after disclosure, and factors supporting credibility of allegations. We also wished to examine the associations between variables in these domains.
  • Publication
    Irish child sexual abuse victims attending a specialist centre
    We profiled a cohort of CSA cases referred for assessment to a specialist child sexual abuse (CSA) centre in a national paediatric hospital in Ireland. Historical and clinical data were drawn from records of 171 cases. The majority of cases were referred by social workers following purposeful disclosure of CSA. Three quarters of the cases were female with a mean age of 9 years. They were from a wide spectrum of socioeconomic groups and many had suffered a range of family adversities. In most cases, the abuse involved masturbation of the child by the abuser. Almost all of the perpetrators were male with a mean age of 28 years and in 60% of cases extrafamilial abuse had occurred. In 23% of cases, the perpetrator had a history of previous sexual offending. Anxiety was the most common emotional problem before disclosure and after disclosure the most common emotional problem was guilt. Before disclosure school refusal was the most common behavioural problem and after disclosure fighting was the most prevalent behavioural difficulty. The most common factors supporting the credibility of CSA allegations were labile mood, the child's ability to differentiate fact from fantasy and a detailed disclosure of contextual details. More adolescents showed deterioration in schoolwork after disclosure and for more pre school children clinginess following disclosure was a significant emotional problem. More primary school aged children were abused by perpetrators who had abused a number of children. For children abused by such perpetrators, vaginal intercourse was less common. Vaginal intercourse was more common in 6–11-year-old victims and those who were abused on a daily basis. The threat that disclosure posed to the integrity of the family structure was more often a factor hindering disclosure in victims abused by father figures and abused very frequently.