Child Sexual Abuse

Murray, L. K.,
Nguyen, A.,
Cohen, J. A.
Published: April, 2014
Journal Article
Journal Name: 
Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America
Volume: 23

Issue: 2
Disaster and Trauma Issue

Child sexual abuse (CSA) is a global problem that often defies myths and stereotypes, and does not appear to be decreasing over time. There are many different definitions of CSA, adding to the challenges of measurement, assessment, and treatment. While globalization and modern technology may increase the risk of abuse and exploitation, they may also offer opportunities to strengthen responses. In this article, the authors present information about CSA, including its phenomenology and definitions, epidemiology worldwide, risk factors, factors influencing disclosure, impacts and outcomes, involvement of Child Protective Services and other systems of care, and therapeutic strategies for sexually abused children and their families. They also explore challenges to intervention for CSA, including those related to the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based treatments (EBT), the distinct features of intrafamilial sexual abuse, and concerns about cross-cultural sensitivity and application of EBT in CSA populations.

Correspondence to: Laura K. Murray, PhD, Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, 624 North Broadway, 8th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21205; E-mail:, Website:
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