34. Disclosure suspicion bias and abuse disclosure: Comparisons between sexual and physical abuse.Child Maltreatment (2014)
Prior research has found that children disclosing physical abuse appear more reticent and less consistent than children disclosing sexual abuse. Although this has been attributed to differences in reluctance, it may also be due to differences in the process by which abuse is suspected and investigated. Disclosure may play a larger role in arousing suspicions of sexual abuse, while other evidence may play a larger role in arousing suspicions of physical abuse. As a result, children who disclose physical abuse in formal investigations may be doing so for the first time, and they may be more reluctant to provide details of the abuse. We examined abuse disclosure and evidence in comparable samples of court-substantiated physical (n = 33) and sexual (n = 28) abuse. Consistent with predictions, the likelihood that the child had disclosed abuse before an investigation began was lower in physical (27%) than that in sexual (67%) abuse cases, and there was more nondisclosure evidence of abuse in physical abuse cases. These findings have implications for understanding the dynamics and meaning of disclosure in cases involving different types of abuse.
- Child abuse,
- child maltreatment,
- child testimony
Publication DateApril 30, 2014
Citation InformationRush, E., Lyon, T. D., Ahern, E. C., & Quas, J. A. (2014). Disclosure suspicion bias and abuse disclosure: Comparisons between sexual and physical abuse. Child Maltreatment, 19, 113-118. doi:10.1177/1077559514538114