Child sexual abuse and forensic psychiatry: evolving and controversial issues

Bull Am Acad Psychiatry Law. 1992;20(4):439-53.


Child sexual abuse has received growing attention in recent years, and the topic continues to spark controversy among mental health and legal professionals as well as in the popular media. This paper will review the concept of child sexual abuse, cover relevant definitions, address the clinician's role, and then will address the principal evolving and controversial areas. These areas include psychic damages, false allegations, improper investigatory techniques, use of anatomical dolls, admissibility of expert testimony, hearsay testimony, and the competency of minors to testify.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology
  • Expert Testimony / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Forensic Psychiatry*
  • Humans
  • Personality Development
  • Psychosexual Development