Recantation in Child Sexual Abuse Allegations

I cannot imagine anything worse than a child having the courage to come forward about sexual abuse, only to be disbelieved and placed into further contact or "reunification therapy" with the offending person (see The Parental Alienation Tactic: Punishing Parents, Punishing Children) .

Why do we teach children about good touch and bad touch?

Why are teachers and others mandatory reporters?

I'm starting to believe the goal is to make ADULTS feel better--to give children the false assurance that the world is a just place.

(emphasis mine)

Some people believe that recantations are a sure sign that a child lied about the abuse. However, a recent study found that pressure from family members play a significant role in recantations. Mallory et al. (2007) examined the prevalence and predictors of recantation among 2- to 17-year-old child sexual abuse victims. Case files (n = 257) were randomly selected from all substantiated cases resulting in a dependency court filing in a large urban county between 1999 and 2000. Recantation (i.e., denial of abuse postdisclosure) was scored across formal and informal interviews. Cases were also coded for characteristics of the child, family, and abuse. The researchers found a 23.1% recantation rate. The study looked for but did not find evidence that these recantations resulted from potential inclusion of cases involving false allegations. Instead, multivariate analyses supported a filial dependency model of recantation, whereby abuse victims who were more vulnerable to familial adult influences (i.e., younger children, those abused by a parent figure and who lacked support from the nonoffending caregiver) were more likely to recant.

Malloy, L.C. , Lyon, T.D. , & Quas, J.A. (2007). Filial dependency and recantation of child sexual abuse allegations. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 46, 162-70.

You can read more here.

Summary: Children are more likely to recant if they are placed with their abuser and are NOT protected by their non-abusive caretaker.