This data collection examines the psychological impact of
judicial processes on child sexual abuse victims. More specifically, it
provides information on how sexual abuse and the subsequent judicial
processes affect the mental health functioning of child victims by
assessing the impact of (1) additional harm to victims from out-of-home
placement, (2) criminal prosecution of the offender/family member, (3)
subject testimony in juvenile or criminal court, and (4) family and
professional support for the children. Children were enrolled in the
study at the time that social services personnel substantiated claims
of sexual abuse, and they were followed for a period of 18 months.
Assessments of the mental health functioning of the children were made
at the time of initial investigation, five months later, and 18 months
later, using a combination of self-reports, parent and teacher reports,
and psychological tests. After obtaining informed consent from the
parent or guardian, each child was interviewed using a structured
psychiatric inventory. The specific impacts of the various judicial
processes or interventions under study were examined through
comparisons of subgroups of the sample that did and did not experience
particular interventions. The interventions included social services
investigation, court process, foster placement, and psychological
therapy. Other information in the file includes the type of sexual
abuse experienced, judicial interventions the child experienced, and
the child's level of depression, anxiety, and social adjustment.
Demographic variables include age, sex, and race.