Childhood Sexual Assault Victims: Long Term Outcomes After Testifying in Criminal Court (Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development)

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9781405147255: Childhood Sexual Assault Victims: Long Term Outcomes After Testifying in Criminal Court (Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development)

This Monograph describes the first systematic, longitudinal investigation of the long term outcomes for adolescents and young adults who were involved in criminal court prosecutions as child sexual abuse vitims. Overall, findings highlight the need to consider multiple factors when assessing consequences of legal involvement on child victims. Findings also reveal potentially important areas where interventions should be targeted to ameliorate adverse consequences on vulnerable child victims.

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From the Back Cover:

This Monograph describes the first systematic, longitudinal investigation of the long term outcomes for adolescents and young adults who were involved in criminal court prosecutions as child sexual abuse vitims. The investigation is a follow up to an earlier study exploring the immediate and short-term sequelae for child victims following criminal court involvement. As was evident in the short-term study, testifying repeatedly, especially in cases involving severe abuse, continued to predict adverse mental health consequences over time. Yet, in one situation, specifically when the perpetrator recieved an especially lenient sentence, not testifying was related to poorer current functioning. Children's developmental level at the time of the legal case also played an important role in predicting long-term outcomes. Overall, findings highlight the need to consider multiple factors when assessing consequences of legal involvement on child victims. Findings also reveal potentially important areas where interventions should be targeted to ameliorate adverse consequences on vulnerable child victims.

About the Author:

Jodi A. Quas (Ph.D., 1998, University of California, Davis) is Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology and Social Behavior at the University of California, Irvine. After obtaining her Ph.D., she spent 2 years as a postdoctoral fellow in the Institute of Human Development at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research has two main foci: memory development and children’s involvement in the legal system. She has examined such questions as how children’s memory abilities are influenced by their behavioral and physiological responses to stress, and how social contextual influences affect children’s eyewitness memory and suggestibility. She has also examined child victims’ coping with and understanding of legal involvement and the use of innovative practices to accommodate child victim/witnesses. Her work has been supported by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. For her contributions to the field of developmental psychology and the law, Dr. Quas has received early career awards from Divisions 9 (Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues) and 41 (American PsychologyFLaw Society) of the American Psychological Association.


Gail S. Goodman (Ph.D., 1977, University of California, Los Angeles) is Professor of Psychology and Director of the Center for Research in Support of Government Policy at the University of California, Davis, and Professor of Forensic Psychology at the University of Oslo, Norway. Dr. Goodman’s research falls into two major areas: memory development and children’s abilities and experiences as victim/witnesses. In the memory development area, her work explores theoretical issues concerning the relations between memory and emotion, trauma, and attachment. In the victim/witness area, her research focuses on children’s ability to provide testimony about events they have experienced or witnessed, especially events related to child abuse, and on the psychological effects of testifying in court. Dr. Goodman has served as president of two divisions (Division 37, Child, Youth, and Family Services; and Division 41, Psychology and Law) and one section (Child Maltreatment) of the American Psychological Association. She has received many grants and awards, including two Distinguished Contributions awards in 2005 from the American Psychological Association (the Distinguished Contributions to Research in Public Policy Award, and the Distinguished Professional Contributions to Applied Research Award). Dr. Goodman obtained her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at UCLA and conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Denver and the Universite’ Rene’ Descartes in Paris, France.


Simona Ghetti (Ph.D., 2002, University of California, Davis) currently has a joint appointment as Assistant Professor at the University of California, Davis, and as a Research Scientist at the National Research Council in Bologna, Italy. Her primary research interest concerns the processes underlying the formation and rejection of false memories. In one line of research, Dr. Ghetti investigates the extent to which individuals make metamemory-based inferences when rejecting false memories (e.g., ‘‘If something like this had happened, then I would remember it’’). In another line of research, she investigates developmental trends in the mechanisms involved in false-memory formation and rejection. Other studies focus on the subjective experience of remembering, the relation between trauma and memory, and children’s and adolescents’ involvement as victims and defendants in the legal system. Dr. Ghetti’s research is currently funded by the National Science Foundation.


Kristen Weede Alexander (Ph.D., 2002, University of California, Davis) received her doctoral degree in Human Development. She is currently Assistant Professor at California State University, Sacramento. Her research interests focus broadly on cognitive development as it relates to children’s ability to attend to and later remember stressful personal experiences. Her studies have focused on the development of different forms of memory, children’s memory for stressful experiences, and sources of individual differences in children’s episodic memory. Her most recent research concerns the relations among attachment, executive function, electrophysiological responses, and emotional memories in children and adults.


Robin Edelstein (Ph.D., 2005, University of California, Davis) is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Irvine. Her research interests fall in two main areas: the influence of emotion on memory, including individual differences in memory for emotional material, and attachment-related differences in the regulation of emotion, cognition, and behavior. To address these issues, Dr. Edelstein has conducted experimental, longitudinal, and correlational studies of emotional memory in both children and adults. She has also examined individual differences (e.g., in adult attachment and mental health) in emotional memory, as well as attachment-related differences in behavior in emotional situations. Her research has been supported by awards from the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Foundation.


Allison Redlich (Ph.D., 1999, University of California, Davis) received her doctoral degree in Developmental Psychology. She then spent 3 years as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at Stanford University. Dr. Redlich is currently a research associate at Policy Research Associates, Inc. Her research is broadly focused on the legal system’s response to and accommodation of vulnerable populations of both victims and defendants. Of particular interest for her is juvenile interrogation by police, and whether certain interrogation tactics lead to false confessions. Dr. Redlich has also conducted research on the effects of hearsay in legal cases involving children, and attitudes toward child sexual abuse prevention measures. She is currently PI or co-PI of two multi-site investigations of the use of mental health courts, funded by the National Science Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation.


Ingrid Cordon (Ph.D., 2004, University of California, Davis) is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Minnesota. Her research interests concern the ontogeny and development of memory in early childhood. Specifically, she is interested in the relations between language, emotion, and memory, and the effects of trauma on memory development. Her current program of research examines the functional and neural development of the explicit memory system in both typically developing children and children with suspected damage to the hippocampus (a structure critical for explicit memory). To investigate the development of explicit memory and to identify the neural networks that support memory processes, Dr. Cordon employs both behavioral (e.g., explicit memory tasks, neuropsychological tests) and electrophysiological methods. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the American Psychological Association.


David P. H. Jones (D.C.H., 1978, M.R.C. Psych 1980, University of Birmingham) is a Consultant Child and Family Psychiatrist and Senior Lecturer, University of Oxford, at the Park Hospital for Children, Oxford. He leads a multi-disciplinary child psychiatric clinical team providing services for abused children and their families. He has researched and published widely in the fields of child abuse and neglect, children’s reactions to trauma, and consent to treatment among children.

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Jodi Quas (Editor), Gail S. Goodman (Editor), Simona Ghetti (Editor), Kristen Weede Alexander (Editor), Robin Edelstein (Editor), Allison Redlich (Editor), Ingrid Cordon (Editor), David P. H. Jones (Editor)
Published by Wiley-Blackwell (2005)
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