Unequal Justice: Prosecution of Child Sexual Abuse

by Ellen Gray

Format: Other book format 268 pages

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The number of allegations concerning sexual abuse of children continues to rise, but there has been little concrete, systematic information about the legal consequences. Who is sent to criminal court for sexually abusing children? What happens to the cases once they are there? On what basis are jurors making their decisions in these cases? Are they swayed by experts who give information about abused children and their typical behaviors? How reliable is the medical evidence? How do technological advances such as videotaped testimony affect the outcome of a trial? Drawing on the findings of the first national study on child sexual abuse and the courts, Ellen Gray renders the most complete portrait to date of how our criminal justice system deals with child sexual abuse cases. As her research shows, there are some shocking inequities and inconsistencies. For example, female victims are funneled into the system at very different rates than their male counterparts. There is also considerable age discrimination; teenage victims fare far worse in the courts than do younger children. Minority defendants are more likely to be convicted. In addition, there is little consistency in how different counties treat these cases. In some, a case is likely to last just over a month, while in others it can drag on for almost a year. In some locations, a case may be diverted to psychological treatment and away from prosecution; in other locations, that option does not exist. Unequal Justice is must reading for those invovled in child sexual abuse cases. The book will be of interest to social workers who handle these cases at the "front end" but don't always know their outcome once they leave the childwelfare system and enter the very different legal system. The book will also be of interest to members of the law profession who want a better understanding of how the system operates outside their jurisdiction. In addition, Unequal Justice is appropriate as a text for courses on soci

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