Online Program

Defining the sexual abuse experience in young adolescents

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 10:50 a.m. - 11:10 a.m.

Janet U. Schneiderman, PhD, RN, School of Social Work and Department of Nursing, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Caitlin Smith, MA, Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Sonya Negriff, PhD, School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Justine Schreyer, BA, University of Southern California School of Social Work, Los Angeles, CA
Penelope Trickett, PhD, School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Background: Little is known about children's sexual abuse (CSA) experiences. This study investigates the CSA history of sixty 8-13 year-olds (mean age of CSA onset 8.07 years) and compares: 1.demographics of youth with CSA to maltreated youth without CSA 2.differences in the CSA experience and perpetrators for youth with CSA identified by trained raters/coders versus those identified by CPS.

Methods: 303 children with substantiated child maltreatment were recruited from the Los Angeles CPS. Types of abuse and neglect were identified using the Maltreatment Case Record Abstraction Instrument (MCRAI). Chi-Square analysis was used to identify differences between youth with MCRAI-defined CSA, maltreated youth without CSA, and youth with CPS-identified CSA.

Results: Notably, of the 60 youth identified with CSA by the MCRAI, 33 (55%) were not identified as victims of CSA by CPS. Youth with MCRAI-defined CSA were more likely to be female (p=.006) and all had co-occurring other types of maltreatment. CPS identified CSA in more cases where penetrative sexual acts were performed on a minor (p = .03), whereas MCRAI-defined CSA included sexual fondling and non-contact CSA (e.g. viewing sexual acts). For MCRAI-identified CSA cases, unrelated perpetrators were more likely to sexually abuse boys than girls.

Conclusions: CSA is often not identified by CPS, even when a child is being investigated for maltreatment. Mandated reporters should provide as much information as possible to CPS to assure that CSA is documented. More standardized definitions of CSA are needed to make communities aware of what constitutes CSA and to provide prevention.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Explain the range of sexual abusive acts experienced by a population of young adolescents.

Keyword(s): Child Abuse, Sexuality

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a research faculty at the USC School of Social Work. I have a KO1 from NICHD to study medical neglect in the child welfare system. I have been working with Dr. Penelope Trickett on her young adolescent study for the past three years. We have published one paper together and have a NIH grant under review to study obesity in young adolescents. I have worked with this dataset for the past three years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.