Psychological complaints reported by sexually abused children during criminal investigations: Istanbul example

Child Abuse Negl. 2016 Jun;56:54-61. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2016.04.010. Epub 2016 May 3.


The present study aims at describing the psychological complaints reported, as a part of the criminal investigation process, by the victims of sexual abuse as a part of the criminal investigation process, without attempting at reaching a medical diagnosis; and it discusses the relation of these reports with variables such as victim's gender, age and relation to the offender, type and duration of abuse, and parental marital status of the victim. Data is obtained from the statements of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) victims under the age of 15, as taken by Istanbul Juvenile Justice Department between the years 2009 and 2012. The sample consists of 175 cases with a total of 202 victim statements. Through the use of content analysis, the main and sub-categories of themes of the statements were determined. By means of the evaluation of the psychological condition of victims, we evaluated them in two categories: psychological complaints including self-harm and risk taking behaviors and psychological complaints with no self-harm and risk taking behaviors. The statistical analyses yield significant relations between the psychological complaints and children's parental marital status. Analysis of initial statements of sexual abuse victims is important as it may greatly contribute to professionals diagnosing and treating psychological complaints of these victims. It is essential that victims of sexual abuse should receive immediate psychological support starting with the criminal investigation process.

Keywords: Child sexual abuse (CSA); Criminal investigation; Psychological complaints; Self-harm behaviors; Victim.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Crime Victims / psychology*
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Law Enforcement / methods
  • Male
  • Turkey